Page:The Yellow Book - 01.djvu/135

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123
By George Saintsbury

nor doth the golden glow of the sherris approach in flame the locks of Bellamira; but if I let the sunlight play through both, Love, with fantastic triumph, shows me, as the bright motes flicker and flee through the sack, the tawny eyes of Candiope, and the stain, no longer black or purple, but rosy red, that floats from the Oportian juice on the white napery, recalls the velvet blush of Bellamira's cheek."

"And this?" I said, pointing to a bin of Bordeaux near me. "Thou shalt try it this very day," said Falernianus with a laugh, which I thought carried off some feelings a little overstrained; "'tis a right pleasant wine, and they made it in the year when I first saw the lips of Damaris. The flavour is not unlike theirs, and if it should fluster thine head a little, and cause thee what men call heartburn, I will not say that the effects are wholly dissimilar" It is not like Falernianus even to jest at women, and I turned to another. His face cleared. "Many a year has passed," he said, "since the grape that bore that juice was gathered, and even as it was ripening it chanced that I met Lalage and won her. The wine was always good and the love likewise; but in neither in their early years was there half the pleasure that there is now. But I weary you, Eugenius, and perhaps the philosopher speaks truly in saying that these things are not matters of sympathy, or, as the Scripture saith, a stranger is not partaker of them. Suffice it to say that these imprisoned rubies and topazes, amethysts and jacinths, never flash in the glass, nor collect their deeper body of colour in the flagon, without bringing a memory with them, that my lips seldom kiss them without recalling other kisses, my eye never beholds them without seeing other colours and other forms in 'the sessions of sweet silent thought.' At the refining of this elixir I assumed the virile gown; when that nectar was fit for drinking I made my first appearance in the field of letters; and

The Yellow Book—Vol. I.
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