Hadst thou liv'd in days of old, O what wonders had been told Of thy lively countenance, And thy humid eyes that dance In the midst of their own brightness; In the very fane of lightness. Over which thine eyebrows, leaning, Picture out each lovely meaning: In a dainty bend they lie, Like two streaks across the sky, Or the feathers from a crow, Fallen on a bed of snow. Of thy dark hair that extends Into many graceful bends: As the leaves of Hellebore Turn to whence they sprung before. And behind each ample curl Peeps the richness of a pearl. Downward too flows many a tress With a glossy waviness; Full, and round like globes that rise From the censer to the skies Through sunny air. Add too, the sweetness Of thy honied voice; the neatness Of thine ankle lightly turn'd: With those beauties, scarce discrn'd, Kept with such sweet privacy, That they seldom meet the eye Of the little loves that fly Round about with eager pry. Saving when, with freshening lave, Thou dipp'st them in the taintless wave; Like twin water lillies, born In the coolness of the morn. O, if thou hadst breathed then, Now the Muses had been ten. Couldst thou wish for lineage higher Than twin sister of Thalia? At least for ever, evermore, Will I call the Graces four.
Hadst thou liv'd when chivalry Lifted up her lance on high, Tell me what thou wouldst have been? Ah! I see the silver sheen Of thy broidered, floating vest Cov'ring half thine ivory breast; Which, O heavens! I should see, But that cruel destiny Has placed a golden cuirass there; Keeping secret what is fair. Like sunbeams in a cloudlet nested Thy locks in knightly casque are rested: O'er which bend four milky plumes Like the gentle lilly's blooms Springing from a costly vase. See with what a stately pace Comes thine alabaster steed; Servant of heroic deed! O'er his loins, his trappings glow Like the northern lights on snow. Mount his back! thy sword unsheath! Sign of the enchanter's death; Bane of every wicked spell; Silencer of dragon's yell. Alas! thou this wilt never do: Thou art an enchantress too, And wilt surely never spill Blood of those whose eyes can kill.