Thus have I pictured her: In Arden old
A white-browed maiden with a falcon eye,
Rose-flushed of face, with locks of wind-blown gold,
Teaching her hawks to fly.
Or, 'mid her boar-hounds, panting with the heat,
In huntsman green, sounding the hunt's wild prize,
Plumed, dagger-belted, while beneath her feet
The spear-pierced monster dies.
Or in Brécéliand, on some high tower,
Clad white in samite, last of her lost race,
My soul beholds her, lovelier than a flower,
Gazing with pensive face.
Or, robed in raiment of romantic lore,
Like Oriana, dark of eye and hair,
Riding through realms of legend evermore,
And ever young and fair.
Or now like Bradamant, as brave as just,
In complete steel, her pure face lit with scorn,
At giant castles, dens of demon lust,
Winding her bugle-horn.
Another Una; and in chastity
A second Britomart; in beauty far
O'er her who led King Charles's chivalry
And Paynim lands to war....
Now she, from Avalon's deep-dingled bowers,
'Mid which white stars and never-waning moons
Make marriage; and dim lips of musk-mouthed flowers
Sigh faint and fragrant tunes,
Implores me follow; and, in shadowy shapes
Of sunset, shows me, mile on misty mile
Of purple precipice, all the haunted capes
Of her enchanted isle.
Where, bowered in bosks and overgrown with vine,
Upon a headland breasting violet seas,
Her castle towers, like a dream divine,
With stairs and galleries.
And at her casement, Circe-beautiful,
Above the surgeless reaches of the deep,
She sits, while, in her gardens, fountains lull
The perfumed wind asleep.
Or, round her brow a diadem of spars,
She leans and hearkens, from her raven height,
The nightingales that, choiring to the stars,
Take with wild song the night.
Or, where the moon is mirrored in the waves,
To mark, deep down, the Sea King's city rolled,
Wrought of huge shells and labyrinthine caves,
Ribbed pale with pearl and gold.
There doth she wait forever; and the kings
Of all the world have wooed her: but she cares
For none but him, the Love, that dreams and sings,
That sings and dreams and dares.