THE maiden meadows softly blush
Beneath the enamoured breeze,
And break into one purple flush
Of frail anemones.
Violet and rose and vermeil white,
Woven of sun and showers,
They seem to be embodied light
Transfigured into flowers.
Pealed from tower to answering tower,
O'er the city swells,
Ringing in the hallowed hour,
Rhythm of bells on bells;
And on wings of Choral Song,
Confluent hearts to Mary throng,
From low, cloistered cells.
On the golden ground of even,
Like a half-way home,
On the pilgrim to heaven
Floats St. Peter's Dome;
High, high, in the air alone,
Man's dread Thought transformed to stone,
Pinnacled o'er Rome.
I saw thee stoop, oh lady sweet,
And with those pale, frail hands of thine
Gather the spring flowers at our feet,
Fair as some late-born Proserpine.
Yea, gathering flowers, thou might'st have been
That goddess of the ethereal brow,
Revisiting this radiant scene
From realm of dolorous shades below.
Thou might'st have been that Queen of Sighs,
Love-bound by Hades' dreadful spell;
For veiled within thy heaven-blue eyes,
There lay the Memory of Hell.
Villa Pamfili Doria.
On fleeting gusts of desultory song,
I let my soul drift out into the Spring;
The Psyche flies and palpitates among
The palpitating creatures on the wing.
Go, happy Soul! run fluid in the wave,
Vibrate in light, escape thy natal curse;
Go forth no longer as my body-slave,
But as the heir of all the Universe.
Look, where the ivy weaves,
Tendrils of clinging leaves
Round him enlacing,
With Nature's sacredness
Clothing the nakedness,
Clothing the marble of
This poor, dismembered love.
Gone are the hands whose skill
Aimed the light arrow,
Strong once to cure or kill,
Pierce to the marrow;
Gone are the lips whose kiss
Held hives of honeyed bliss;
Gone too the little feet,
O helpless god of old,
Maimed mid the tender
Blossoming white and gold
Of April splendour!
Shall we not make thy grave
Where the long grasses wave;
Hide thee, O headless god,
Deep in the daisied sod?
Here thou mayst rest at last
After life's fever;
After love's fret is past
Rest thee for ever.
Nay, broken God of Love,
Still must thou bide above
While, left for woe or weal,
Thou has a heart to feel.
SHE floats into the quiet skies,
Where, in the circle of hills,
Her immemorial mirror fills
With light, as of a Virgin's eyes
When, love a-tremble in their blue,
They glow twin violets dipped in dew.
Mild as a metaphor of Sleep,
The Queen Moon of ancestral night
Beholds her image in the deep:
As if a-gaze she beams above
Lake Nemi's magic glass of love.
White rose, white lily of the vale,
Perfume the even breath of night;
In many a burst of sweet delight
The love throb of the nightingale
Swells through lush flowering woods and fills
The circle of the listening hills.
White rose, white lily of the skies,
The Moon-flower blossoms in the lake;
The nightingale for her fair sake
With hopeless love's impassioned cries
Seems fain to sing till song must kill
Himself with one tumultuous trill.
And all the songs and all the scents,
The light of glowworms and the fires
Of fire-flies in the cypress spires;
And all the wild wind instruments
Of pine and ilex as the breeze
Sweeps out their mystic harmonies;--
All are but Messengers of May
To that white orb of maiden fire
Who fills the moth with mad desire
To die enamoured in her ray,
And turns each dewdrop in the grass
Into a fairy looking-glass.
O Beauty, far and far above
The night moth and the nightingale!
Far, far above life's narrow pale,
O Unattainable! O Love!
Even as the nightingale we cry
For some Ideal set on high.
Haunting the deep reflective mind,
You may surprise its perfect Sphere
Glassed like the Moon within her mere,
Who at a puff of alien wind
Melts in innumerable rings,
Elusive in the flux of things.
And on the Clouds a many-tinted band
Of Hours dance round their Leader, grave or gay
As glowing near or in his wake they sway;
While poised above the sun-awakened land
The Morning Star, fair herald of the day,
Hovers, a Cupid, back-blown torch in hand.
The Sunlight, leaping from the Heights,
Flames o'er the fields of May,
Winged with unnumbered swallow-flights
Fresh from the long sea way;
And butterflies and insect mites,
Born with the new-blown day,
Cross fires in shifting opal lights
From spray to beckoning spray.
The dandelion puffs her balls,
Free spinsters of the air,
Who scorn to wait for beetle calls
Or bees to find them fair;
But breaking through the painted walls
Their sisters tamely bear,
Fly off in dancing down, which falls
And sprouts up everywhere.
And far above Earth's flower-filled lap
And rosy revelry,
The mountain mothers feed her sap
From herded clouds on high--
Each pinnacle and frozen pap
Whose life has long gone by,
A bridge which spans the mighty gap
Between the earth and sky.
But when resurgent from the womb of night
Spring's Oriflamme of flowers waves from the Sod;
When peak on flashing Alpine peak is trod
By sunbeams on their missionary flight;
When heaven-kissed Earth laughs, garmented in light;--
That is the hour in which I miss my God.
In an aisle of Acacias enlaced and enlacing,
Where the silvery sunlight tunnels the shade,
Where snowflakes of butterflies airily chasing
Each other in trios flash down the arcade:
Arrayed in white muslin the wedded bride
Looks fresh as a daisy, the groom by her side.
The guests flitted round her with light-hearted laughter;
They hunted the slipper, they kissed the ring;
Of days gone before and of days coming after
They thought of no more than the bird on the wing.
Were the loves and the laughter and lilacs of May,
With the sunshine above, not enough for the day?
And the lilacs, the lilacs are blowing and glowing!
They pluck them by handfuls and pile them in a mass;
And the sap of the Springtide is rising and flowing
Through the veins of the greenwood, the blades of the grass;
Up, up to the last leaf a dance on the tree,
It leaps like a fountain abundant and free.
The blackbirds are building their nests in the bushes,
And whistle at work, as the workpeople do;
The trees swing their censers, the wind comes in gushes
Of delicate scent mixed of honey and dew.
Now loud and now loud through the garrulous trees
A burst of gay music is blown with the breeze.
And the girls and the boys from the faubourgs of Paris,
The premature gamins as wise as fourscore;
The vain little Margots and the wide-awake Harrys,
Surprised into childhood, grew simple once more,
And vied with the cuckoo as, shouting at play,
They dashed through the thickets and darted away.
Ah, fair is the forest's green glimmering splendour,
The leaves of the lime tree a network of light;
And fringing long aisles of acacia, a tender
And delicate veiling of virginal white,
Where, framed in the gladdening flowers of May,
The bride and her bridesmaids beam gladder than they.
They have crowned her brown tresses with hawthorn in blossom,
They have made her a necklace of daisies for pearls;
They have set the white lily against her white bosom,
Enthroned on the grass mid a garland of girls;
With the earth for a footstool, the sky-roof above,
She is queen of the Springtide and Lady of Love.
Oh, the lilacs, the lilacs are glowing and blowing!
They pluck them by bushels as blithely they go
Through the green, scented dusk where the hawthorn is showing
A luminous whiteness of blossoming snow.
And the Sun ere he goes gives the Moon half his light,
As a lamp to lead Love on the bridal night.
And like a child who trusts in God
When in the dark it lies alone,
Stretched on the aromatic sod
My heart was laid against your own,
Against your heart, which seemed to be
Mine own to all Eternity.
Lapped in illimitable light,
The woods and waters seemed to swoon,
And clouds like angels-winged the night
And slipped away into the Moon,
Lost in that radiant flame above
As we were lapped and lost in love.
Bare as a beggar's board, the trees
Stand in the water to their knees;
The birds are mute, but far away
I hear a bloodhound's sullen bay.
Blue-eyed forget-me-nots that shook,
Kissed by a little laughing brook,
Kissed too by you with lips so red,
Float in the water drowned and dead.
And dead and drowned 'mid leaves that rot,
Our angel-eyed Forget-me-not,
The love of unforgotten years,
Floats corpse-like in a pool of tears
Beneath the whispering boughs and simmering skies,
On the hot ground at rest,
Still as a stone, a ragged woman lies,
Her baby at the breast.
Nibbling around her browse monotonous sheep,
Flies buzz about her head;
Her heavy eyes are shuttered by a sleep
As of the slumbering dead.
The happy birds that live to love and sing,
Flitting from bough to bough,
Peer softly at this ghastly human thing
With grizzled hair and brow.
O'er what strange ways may not these feet have trod
That match the cracking clay?
Man had no pity on her--no, nor God--
A nameless castaway!
But Mother Earth now hugs her to her breast,
Defiled or undefiled;
And willows rock the weary soul to rest,
As she, even she, her child.
The tortured trees were lashing
Each other in their wrath,
Their wet leaves wildly dashing
Across the forest path.
We did not heed the sweeping
Of storm-bewildered rain;
Our cheeks were wet with weeping,
Our hearts were wrung with pain.
For where the cross-roads sever,
Parting to East and West,
We bade good-bye for ever,
To what we each loved best.
The very sunlight hushed within the close,
Sleeps indolently by the Yew's slow shade;
Still as a relic some old Master made
The jewelled peacock's rich enamel glows;
And on yon mossy wall that youthful rose
Blooms like a rose that never means to fade.