Fæsulan Idyl

Original Text: 
Walter Savage Landor, Gebir, Count Julian (1831).
2Into hot Summer's lusty arms expires;
3And where go forth at morn, at eve, at night,
4Soft airs, that want the lute to play with them,
5And softer sighs, that know not what they want;
6Under a wall, beneath an orange-tree
7Whose tallest flowers could tell the lowlier ones
8Of sights in Fiesole right up above,
9While I was gazing a few paces off
10At what they seemed to show me with their nods,
11Their frequent whispers and their pointing shoots,
12A gentle maid came down the garden-steps
13And gathered the pure treasure in her lap.
14I heard the branches rustle, and stept forth
15To drive the ox away, or mule, or goat,
16(Such I believed it must be); for sweet scents
17Are the swift vehicles of still sweeter thoughts,
18And nurse and pillow the dull memory
19That would let drop without them her best stores.
20They bring me tales of youth and tones of love,
21And 'tis and ever was my wish and way
22To let all flowers live freely, and all die,
23Whene'er their Genius bids their souls depart,
24Among their kindred in their native place.
25I never pluck the rose; the violet's head
26Hath shaken with my breath upon its bank
27And not reproacht me; the ever-sacred cup
28Of the pure lily hath between my hands
29Felt safe, unsoil'd, nor lost one grain of gold.
30I saw the light that made the glossy leaves
31More glossy; the fair arm, the fairer cheek
32Warmed by the eye intent on its pursuit;
33I saw the foot, that, altho half-erect
34From its grey slipper, could not lift her up
35To what she wanted: I held down a branch
36And gather'd her some blossoms, since their hour
37Was come, and bees had wounded them, and flies
38Of harder wing were working their way thro
39And scattering them in fragments under foot.
40So crisp were some, they rattled unevolved,
41Others, ere broken off, fell into shells,
42For such appear the petals when detacht,
43Unbending, brittle, lucid, white like snow,
44And like snow not seen thro, by eye or sun:
45Yet every one her gown received from me
46Was fairer than the first . . I thought not so,
47But so she praised them to reward my care.
48I said: you find the largest.
49                                             This indeed,
50Cried she, is large and sweet.
51                                                She held one forth,
52Whether for me to look at or to take
53She knew not, nor did I; but taking it
54Would best have solved (and this she felt) her doubts.
55I dared not touch it; for it seemed a part
56Of her own self; fresh, full, the most mature
57Of blossoms, yet a blossom; with a touch
58To fall, and yet unfallen.
59                                        She drew back
60The boon she tendered, and then, finding not
61The ribbon at her waist to fix it in,
62Dropt it, as loth to drop it, on the rest.


1] Fæsulan is Fiesolan, from Fiesole near Florence. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
H. Kerpneck
RPO Edition: 
3RP 3.3.