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- When I made answer, I began: “Alas!
- How many sweet thoughts and how much desire
- Led these two onward to the dolorous pass!”
- Then turned to them, as who would fain inquire,
- And said: “Francesca, these thine agonies
- Wring tears for pity and grief that they inspire:
- But tell me,—in the season of sweet sighs,
- When and what way did Love instruct you so
- That he in your vague longing made you wise?”
10Then she to me: “There is no greater woe
- Than the remembrance of past happy days
- In misery; and this thy guide doth know.
- But if the first beginnings to retrace
- Of our sad love can yield thee solace here,
- So will I be as one that weeps and says.
- One day we read, for pastime and sweet cheer,
- Of Lancelot, how he found Love tyrannous;
- We were alone and without any fear.
- Our eyes were drawn together, reading thus,
20Full oft, and still our cheeks would pale and glow;
- But one sole point it was that conquered us.
- For when we read of that great lover, how
- He kissed the smile which he had longed to win,
- Then he whom nought can sever from me now
- For ever, kissed my mouth, all quivering.
- A Galahalt was the book, and he that writ:
- Upon that day we read no more therein.”
- At the tale told, while one soul uttered it,
- The other wept: a woe so pitiable
30That I was seized, like death, in swooning-fit,
- And even as a dead body falls, I fell.
DANTE G. ROSSETTI.
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