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Ode to Psyche

O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
        By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,
And pardon that thy secrets should be sung
        Even into thine own soft-conched ear:
Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see
        The winged Psyche with awaken’d eyes?
I wander’d in a forest thoughtlessly,
        And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,
Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side
        In deepest grass, beneath the whisp’ring roof
        Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran
               A brooklet, scarce espied:
 
Mid hush’d, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,
        Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,
They lay calm-breathing, on the bedded grass;
        Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;
        Their lips touch’d not, but had not bade adieu,
As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber,
And ready still past kisses to outnumber
        At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love:
               The winged boy I knew;
But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove?
               His Psyche true!
 
O latest born and loveliest vision far
        Of all Olympus’ faded hierarchy!
Fairer than Phoebe’s sapphire-region’d star,
        Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
               Nor altar heap’d with flowers;
Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan
               Upon the midnight hours;
No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet
        From chain-swung censer teeming;
No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat
        Of pale-mouth’d prophet dreaming.
 
O brightest! though too late for antique vows,
        Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,
When holy were the haunted forest boughs,
        Holy the air, the water, and the fire;
Yet even in these days so far retir’d
        From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,
        Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspir’d.
So let me be thy choir, and make a moan
               Upon the midnight hours;
Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet
        From swinged censer teeming;
Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat
        Of pale-mouth’d prophet dreaming.
 
Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
        In some untrodden region of my mind,
Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,
        Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind:
Far, far around shall those dark-cluster’d trees
        Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;
And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,
        The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull’d to sleep;
And in the midst of this wide quietness
A rosy sanctuary will I dress
  With the wreath’d trellis of a working brain,
        With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,
With all the gardener Fancy e’er could feign,
        Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same:
And there shall be for thee all soft delight
        That shadowy thought can win,
A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,
        To let the warm Love in!
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