SHE stood against the Orient sun,
Her face inscrutable for light;
A myriad larks in unison
Sang o'er her, soaring out of sight.
A myriad flowers around her feet
Burst flame-like from the yielding sod,
Till all the wandering airs were sweet
With incense mounting up to God.
A mighty rainbow shook, inclined
Towards her, from the Occident,
Girdling the cloud-wrack which enshrined
Half the light-bearing firmament.
Lit showers flashed golden o'er the hills,
And trees flung silver to the breeze,
And, scattering diamonds, fleet-foot rills
Fled laughingly across the leas.
Yea, Love, the skylarks laud but thee,
And writ in flowers thine awful name;
Spring is thy shade, dread Ecstasy,
And life a brand which feeds thy flame.
WINDING all my life about thee,
Let me lay my lips on thine;
What is all the world without thee,
Mine --oh mine!
Let me press my heart out on thee,
Grape of life's most fiery vine,
Spilling sacramental on thee
Love's red wine.
Let thy strong eyes yearning o'er me
Draw me with their force divine;
All my soul has gone before me
Irresistibly I follow,
As whenever we may run
Runs our shadow, as the swallow
Seeks the sun.
Yea, I tremble, swoon, surrender
All my spirit to thy sway,
As a star is drowned in splendour
Of the day.
I CHARGE you, O winds of the West, O winds with the wings of the dove,
That ye blow o'er the brows of my Love, breathing low that I sicken for love.
I charge you, O dews of the Dawn, O tears of the star of the morn,
That ye fall at the feet of my love with the sound of one weeping forlorn.
I charge you, O birds of the Air, O birds flying home to your nest,
That ye sing in his ears of the joy that for ever has fled from my breast.
I charge you, O flowers of the Earth, O frailest of things, and most fair,
That ye droop in his path as the life in me shrivels consumed by despair.
O Moon, when he lifts up his face, when he seeth the waning of thee,
A memory of her who lies wan on the limits of life let it be.
Many tears cannot quench, nor my sighs extinguish, the flames of love's fire,
Which lifteth my heart like a wave, and smites it, and breaks its desire.
I rise like one in a dream when I see the red sun flaring low,
That drags me back shuddering from sleep each morning to life with its woe.
I go like one in a dream, unbidden my feet know the way
To that garden where love stood in blossom with the red and white hawthorn of May.
The song of the throstle is hushed, and the fountain is dry to its core,
The moon cometh up as of old; she seeks, but she finds him no more.
The pale-faced, pitiful moon shines down on the grass where I weep,
My face to the earth, and my breast in an anguish ne'er soothed into sleep.
The moon returns, and the spring, birds warble, trees burst into leaf,
But Love once gone, goes for ever, and all that endures is the grief.
THOU walkest with me as the spirit-light
Of the hushed moon, high o'er a snowy hill,
Walks with the houseless traveller all the night,
When trees are tongueless and when mute the rill.
Moon of my soul, O phantasm of delight,
Thou walkest with me still.
The vestal flame of quenchless memory burns
In my soul's sanctuary. Yea, still for thee
My bitter heart hath yearned, as moonward yearns
Each separate wave-pulse of the clamorous sea:
My Moon of love, to whom for ever turns
The life that aches through me.
I THINK of thee in watches of the night,
I feel thee near;
Like mystic lamps consumed with too much light
Thine eyes burn clear.
The barriers that divide us in the day
And hide from view,
Like idle cobwebs now are brushed away
Between us two.
I probe the deep recesses of thy mind
And in its inmost labyrinth I find
My own lost soul.
No longer like an exile on the earth
I wildly roam,
I was thy double from the hour of birth
And thou my home.
I WAS again beside thee in a dream:
Earth was so beautiful, the moon was shining;
The muffled voice of many a cataract stream
Came like a love-song, as, with arms entwining,
Our hearts were mixed in unison supreme.
The wind lay spell-bound in each pillared pine,
The tasselled larches had no sound or motion,
As my whole life was sinking into thine--
Sinking into a deep, unfathomed ocean
Of infinite love--uncircumscribed, divine.
Night held her breath, it seemed, with all her stars:
Eternal eyes that watched in mute compassion
Our little lives o'erleap their mortal bars,
Fused in the fulness of immortal passion,
A passion as immortal as the stars.
There was no longer any thee or me;
No sense of self, no wish or incompleteness
The moment, rounded to Eternity,
Annihilated time's destructive fleetness:
For all but love itself had ceased to be.
OUR souls have touched each other,
Two fountains from one jet;
Like children of one mother
Our leaping thoughts have met.
We were as far asunder
As green isles in the sea;
And now we ask in wonder
How that could ever be.
I dare not call thee lover
Nor any earthly name,
Though love's full cup flows over
As water quick with flame.
When two strong minds have mated
As only spirits may,
The wold shines new created
In a diviner day.
Yea, though hard fate may sever
My fleeting self from thine,
Thy thought will live for ever
And ever grow in mine.
I AM athirst, but not for wine;
The drink I long for is divine,
Poured only from your eyes in mine.
I hunger, but the bread I want,
Of which my blood and brain are scant,
Is your sweet speech, for which I pant.
I am a-cold, and lagging lame,
Life creeps along my languid frame;
Your love would fan it into flame.
Heaven's in that little word--your love!
It makes my heart coo like a dove,
My tears fall as I think thereof.
I WOULD I were the glow-worm, thou the flower,
That I might fill thy cup with glimmering light;
I would I were the bird, and thou the bower,
To sing thee songs throughout the summer night.
I would I were a pine tree deeply rooted,
And thou the lofty, cloud-beleaguered rock,
Still, while the blasts of heaven around us hooted,
To cleave to thee and weather every shock.
I would I were the rill, and thou the river;
So might I, leaping from some headlong steep,
With all my waters lost in thine for ever,
Be hurried onwards to the unfathomed deep.
I would--what would I not? O foolish dreaming!
My words are but as leaves by autumn shed,
That, in the faded moonlight idly gleaming,
Drop on the grave where all our love lies dead.
THE woods shake in an ague-fit,
The mad wind rocks the pine,
From sea to sea the white gulls flit
Into the roaring brine.
The moon as if in panic grief
Darts through the clouds on high,
Blown like a wild autumnal leaf
Across the wilder sky.
The gusty rain is driving fast,
And through the rain we hear,
Above the equinoctial blast,
The thunder of the Weir.
The voices of the wind and rain
Wail echoing through my heart--
That love is ever dogged by pain
And fondest souls must part.
You made heart's summer, O my friend,
But now we bid adieu,
There will be winter without end
And tears for ever new.
DOST thou remember ever, for my sake,
When we two rowed upon the rock-bound lake?
How the wind-fretted waters blew their spray
About our brows like blossom-falls of May
One memorable day?
Dost thou remember the glad mouth that cried--
"Were it not sweet to die now side by side,
To lie together tangled in the deep
Close as the heart-beat to the heart--so keep
The everlasting sleep?"
Dost thou remember? Ah, such death as this
Had set the seal upon my heart's young bliss!
But, wrenched asunder, severed and apart,
Life knew a deadlier death: the blighting smart
Which only kills the heart.
LIKE some wild sleeper who alone at night
Walks with unseeing eyes along a height,
With death below and only stars above;
I, in broad daylight, walk as if in sleep,
Along the edges of life's perilous steep,
The lost somnambulist of love.
I, in broad day, go walking in a dream,
Led on in safety by the starry gleam
Of thy blue eyes that hold my heart in thrall;
Let no one wake me rudely, lest one day,
Startled to find how far I've gone astray,
I dash my life out in my fall.
O MOON, large golden summer moon,
Hanging between the linden trees,
Which in the intermittent breeze
Beat with the rhythmic pulse of June!
O night-air, scented through and through
With honey-coloured flower of lime,
Sweet now as in that other time
When all my heart was sweet as you!
The sorcery of this breathing bloom
Works like enchantment in my brain,
Till, shuddering back to life again,
My dead self rises from its tomb.
And, lovely with the love of yore,
Its white ghost haunts the moon-white ways;
But, when it meets me face to face,
Flies trembling to the grave once more.
I PLANTED a rose tree in my garden,
In early days when the year was young;
I thought it would bear me roses, roses,
While nights were dewy and days were long.
It bore me once, and a white rose only--
A lovely rose with petals of light;
Like the moon in heaven, supreme and lonely;
And the lightning struck it one summer night.
WHY will you haunt me unawares,
And walk into my sleep,
Pacing its shadowy thoroughfares,
Where long-dried perfume scents the airs,
While ghosts of sorrow creep,
Where on Hope's ruined altar-stairs,
With ineffectual beams,
The Moon of Memory coldly glares
Upon the land of dreams?
My yearning eyes were fain to look
Upon your hidden face;
Their love, alas! you could not brook,
But in your own you mutely took
My hand, and for a space
You wrung it till I throbbed and shook,
And woke with wildest moan
And wet face channeled like a brook
With your tears or my own.
WHEN you wake from troubled slumbers
With a dream-bewildered brain,
And old leaves which no man numbers
Chattering tap against the pane;
And the midnight wind is wailing
Till you very life seems quailing
As the long gusts shudder and sigh:
Know you not that homeless cry
Is my love's, which cannot die,
Wailing through Eternity?
When beside the glowing embers,
Sitting in the twilight lone,
Drop on drop you hear November's
As the heavy rain comes sweeping,
With a sound of weeping, weeping,
Till your blood is chilled with fears;
Know you not those falling tears,
Flowing fast through years on years,
For my sobs within your ears?
When with dolorous moan the billows
Surge around where, far and wide,
Leagues on leagues of sea-worn hollows
Throb with thunders of the tide,
And the weary waves in breaking
Fill you, thrill you, as with aching
Memories of our love of yore,
Where you pace the sounding shore,
Hear you not, through roll and roar,
Soul call soul for evermore?
IN a lonesome burial-place
Crouched a mourner white of face;
Wild her eyes--unheeding
Circling pomp of night and day--
Ever crying, "Well away,
Love lies a-bleeding!"
And her sighs were like a knell,
And her tears for ever fell,
With their warm rain feeding
That purpureal flower, alas!
Trailing prostrate in the grass,
Love lies a-bleeding.
Through the yews' black-tufted gloom
Crimson light fell on the tomb,
Funeral shadows breeding:
In the sky the sun's light shed
Dyed the earth one awful red--
Love lies a-bleeding.
Came grey mists, and blanching cloud
Bore one universal shroud;
Came the bowed moon leading,
From the infinite afar
Star that rumoured unto star--
Love that lies a-bleeding.
DEEP in a yew-sequestered grove
I sat and wept my heart away;
A child came by at close of day
With eyes as sweet as new-born love.
He came from sun-bleached meadows where
High on the hedge the topmost rose
Curtsies to every wind that blows.
A wanton of the summer air.
The sunset aureoled his brow,
Kindling the roses in his hand,
And by my side I saw him stand
To offer me his rose-red bough:
Take back thy gift--I sighed forlorn,
And showed where like the yew's red seed,
My blood had trickled, bead on bead,
From wounds made by his cruel thorn.
He smiled and said:--Nay, take my Rose;
You know, when all is said and done,
There's not a joy beneath the sun
Worth lovers' joys but lovers' woes.
ON life's long round by chance I found
A dell impearled with dew;
Where hyacinths, gushing from the ground,
Lent to the earth heaven's native hue
Of holy blue.
I sought that plot of azure light
Once more in gloomy hours;
But snow had fallen overnight
And wrapped in mortuary white
My fairy ring of flowers.
AH, yesterday was dark and drear,
My heart was deadly sore;
Without thy love it seemed, my Dear,
That I could live no more.
And yet I laugh and sing to-day;
Care or care not for me,
Thou canst not take the love away
With which I worship thee.
And if to-morrow, Dear, I live,
My heart I shall not break:
For still I hold it that to give
Is sweeter than to take.
I TOOK your face into my dreams,
It floated round me like a light;
Your beauty's consecrating beams
Lay mirrored in my heart all night.
As in a lonely mountain mere,
Unvisited of any streams,
Supremely bright and still and clear,
The solitary moonlight gleams,
Your face was shining in my dreams.
WE met as strangers on life's lonely way,
And yet it seemed we knew each other well;
There was no end to what thou hadst to say,
Or to the thousand things I found to tell.
My heart, long silent, at thy voice that day
Chimed in my breast like to a silver bell.
How much we spoke, and yet still left untold
Some secret half revealed within our eyes:
Didst thou not love me once in ages old?
Had I not called thee with importunate cries,
And, like a child left sobbing in the cold,
Listened to catch from far thy fond replies?
We met as strangers, and as such we part;
Yet all my life seems leaving me with thine;
Ah, to be clasped once only heart to heart,
If only once to feel that thou wert mine!
These lips are locked, and yet I know thou art
That all in all for which my soul did pine.
YOU make the sunshine of my heart
And its tempestuous shower;
Sometimes the thought of you is like
A lilac bush in flower,
Yea, honey-sweet as hives in May.
And then the pang of it will strike
My bosom with a fiery smart,
As though love's deeply planted dart
Drained all its life away.
My thoughts hum round you, Dear, like bees
About a bank of thyme,
Or round the yellow blossoms of
The heavy-scented lime.
Ah, sweeter you than honeydew,
Yet dark the ways of love,
For it has robbed my soul of peace,
And marred my life and turned heart's-ease
Into funereal rue.
AH, if you knew how soon and late
My eyes long for a sight of you
Sometimes in passing by my gate
You'd linger until fall of dew,
If you but knew!
Ah, if you knew how sick and sore
My life flags for the want of you,
Straightway you'd enter at the door
And clasp my hand between your two,
If you but knew!
Ah, if you knew how lost and lone
I watch and weep and wait for you,
You'd press my heart close to your own
Till love had healed me through and through,
If you but knew!
YOUR looks have touched my soul with bright
As moonbeams on a stormy night
Illume with transitory light
A seagull on her lonely flight
Across the lonely ocean.
Fluttering from out the gloom and roar,
On fitful wing she flies,
Moon-white above the moon-washed shore;
Then, drowned in darkness as before,
She's lost, as I when lit no more
By your beloved eyes.
WHAT magic is there in thy mien
What sorcery in thy smile,
Which charms away all cark and care,
Which turns the foul days into fair,
And for a little while
Changes this disenchanted scene
From the sere leaf into the green,
Transmuting with love's golden wand
This beggared life to fairyland?
My heart goes forth to thee, oh friend,
As some poor pilgrim to a shrine,
A pilgrim who has come from far
To seek his spirit's folding star,
And sees the taper shine;
The goal to which his wanderings tend,
Where want and weariness shall end,
And kneels ecstatically blest
Because his heart hath entered rest.
THOU art the goal for which my spirit longs;
As dove on dove,
Bound for one home, I send thee all my songs
With all my love.
Thou art the haven with fair harbour lights;
Safe locked in thee,
My heart would anchor after stormful nights
Alone at sea.
Thou art the rest of which my life is fain,
The perfect peace;
Absorbed in thee the world, with all its pain
And toil, would cease.
Thou art the heaven to which my soul would go!
O dearest eyes,
Lost in your light you would turn hell below
Thou all in all for which my heart-blood yearns!
Yea, near or far--
Where the unfathomed ether throbs and burns
With star on star,
Or where, enkindled by the fires of June,
The fresh earth glows,
Blushing beneath the mystical white moon
Through rose on rose--
Thee, thee, I see, thee feel in all live things,
In the first bird which tremulously sings
Ere peep of sun;
In the last nestling orphaned in the hedge,
Rocked to and fro,
When dying summer shudders in the sedge,
And swallows go;
When roaring snows rush down the mountain-pass,
March floods with rills
Or April lightens through the living grass
When poppied cornfields simmer in the heat
With tare and thistle,
And, like winged clouds above the mellow wheat,
The starlings whistle;
When stained with sunset the wide moorlands glare
In the wild weather,
And clouds with flaming craters smoke and flare
Red o'er red heather;
When the bent moon, on frostbound midnights waking,
Leans to the snow
Like some world-mother whose deep heart is breaking
O'er human woe.
As the round sun rolls red into the ocean,
Till all the sea
Glows fluid gold, even so life's mazy motion
Is dyed with thee:
For as the wave-like years subside and roll,
O heart's desire,
Thy soul glows interfused within my soul,
A quenchless fire.
Yea, thee I feel, all storms of life above,
Near though afar;
O thou my glorious morning star of love,
And evening star.