He was all beautiful: as fair
As summer in the silent trees;
As bright as sunshine on the leas;
As gentle as the evening air.
His voice was swifter than the lark;
Softer than thistle-down his cheek;
His eyes were stars that shyly break
At sundown ere the skies are dark.
I found him in a lowly place:
He sang clear songs that made me weep:
Long nights he ruled my soul in sleep:
Long days I thought upon his face.
""Alone: and must it then be so?
Why do you walk alone?"" she cried.
I answered with a smile, to hide
The undercurrent of my woe.
But had she known, dear friend, that thou
Art living still, she would have said:
""Oblivion should but shroud the dead;
Go, throw thy arms around him now!""
Then on my lips the smile had died:
""From deep to deeper depths I sink;
They bade me leave him on the brink,
And now hell's gulfs our paths divide"".
This time it is no dream that stirs
The ancient fever of my brain:
The burning pulses throb again,
The thirst I may not quench recurs.
In vain I tell my beating heart
How poor and worthless were the prize:
The stifled wish within me dies,
But leave an unextinguished smart.
It is not for the love of God
That I have done my soul this wrong;
'Tis not to make my reason strong
Or curb the currents of my blood.
But sloth, and fear of men, and shame
Impose their limit on my bliss:
Else had I laid my lips to his,
And called him by love's dearest name.
The gale is up, and far away
It comes o'er changeful sea and sand,
Where that dim distant borderland
Stands clear and doffs her mist to-day.
The broad brown woods are close to view;
Their crests are fringed with Orange sky,
And here a beech all russet dry,
And here a black rock-pluming yew.
The river swirls with muddy flow;
The wild white sea-gulls screaming sail
Round point and headland on the gale,
Down to the channel's golden glow.
Far up in the air the homeward rooks
Float dense against the liquid sky:
They hear the woods beneath the brooks.
They mark the swelling of the brooks.
Faint heart, why sad? They flout the breeze,
They care not though their nests be torn;
They laugh the drenching showers to scorn:
Wilt thou not wing thy way like these?
The chimes upon this troubles air
Went sighing, sobbing to the night.
Day drew the curtain from the light,
And left the new year bleak and bare.
A heaven impenetrably black;
Earth sullen, hard, and well defined:
No hope above; the clouds are blind,
And from the East fast whirls the wrack.
The stately ships are passing free,
Where scant light strikes along the flood;
Gaunt winter scowls o'er field and wood:
O who will bring my love to me?
White gulls fly screaming to the sea;
The bitter east wind sweeps the sky;
Faint snow streaks on the hill-sides lie:
O who will bring my love to me?
The hawthorn bough is bare and dree;
The spiky holly keeps him warm;
Brown brake shrills shivering in the storm:
O who will bring my love to me?
The bright blue sky is cold to see;
The frosty ground lies hard and bare;
So cold is hope, so hard is care:
O who will bring my love to me?
I saw a vision of deep eyes
In morning sleep when dreams are true:
Wide humid eyes of hazy blue,
Like seas that kiss the horizon skies.
Then as I gazed, I felt the rain
Of soft warm curls around my cheek,
And heard a whisper low and meek:
""I love, and canst thou love again?""
A gentle youth beside me bent;
His cool moist lips to mine were pressed,
That throbbed and burned with love's unrest:
When, lo, the powers of sleep were spent;
And noiseless on the airy wings
That follow after night's dim way,
The beauteous boy was gone for aye,
A theme of vague imaginings.
Yet I can never rest again:
The flocks of morning dreams are true;
And till I find those eyes of blue
And golden curls, I walk in pain.
Spring comes again: the blushing earth
Will deck herself with bridal flowers:
The birds among the leafy bowers
Will wake dumb winter's woods with mirth.
But I shall never find him, never:
Though winter's snow dissolve in dew,
And hyacinth's star-spangled blue
'Neath vernal breezes bend and shiver.
The field shall throb with marriage hymn,
And summer's wealth shall deck the grove,
Wherethrough my feet must lonely rove,
Disconsolately seeking him.
Seek on, seek on, till autumn dies
Like sunset in drear winter's night;
Seek on, seek on, for thy delight,
A mirage dream, before thee flies.
The tide is high, and stormy beams
Of sunlight scud across the down:
Above, the cloudy squadrons frown;
On their broad front a rainbow gleams.
Cease, boisterous wind. The west is grey
With glory-coated mists, that swell
From distant seas, and gathering tell
Of coming storm and darkened day.
Leave the dank clouds to droop, and guide
Toward their fair port yon sleeping sails:
Close-furled they wait the wakening gales;
Shower-sprinkled shines the pennon wide.
Said seaward, stately ship, and view
Some blessÃ©d isle where love is bred,
Bring me again my love that's dead,
And all I have I'll give to you.
My own loved Clifton, jocund May
Hath decked thy banks and bowers again;
Thy populous elms that crowd the plain,
Thy birches, fountains of green spray.
Once more I pace the lonesome woods,
I hear the thrush and cuckoo call,
I hear the tinkling raindrops fall,
I smell the scent of hidden buds.
Star-spangled bluebell heavens are spread
â€˜Neath silky screens of tender beech;
The yews their dewy fingers reach
To lay them on the lily bed.
All that is fair, and sweet, and gay,
All brightest germs of happy thought,
To-day their freshest gifts have brought
To crown the brows of laughing May.
But I am lone, and sad, and dull,
My brain is sick, my heart is dry;
A weary longing dims the sky,
With bitter want my soul is full.
Ok, where, wherefore, is he gone?
He made my life one living spring;
My heart was then a joyous thing,
And brightened when the sunbeams shone.
I see the light, I see the flowers;
The tres are tremulous with praise;
One craving darkens all my days;
Dead love hath dulled the jocund hours.
It seems as though these years of pain
Had never made me man from boy,
So keenly do I feel the joy
That breathes in wakening spring again.
The rooks complain of coming showers;
The sharp fresh morning breezes blow;
The sunbeams on the river glow,
And kiss the brows of misty towers;
While I along our terrace stray,
I count the shadows on the lawn,
The clouds across the azure drawn
In dappled films of white and grey.
All silent signs of spring are rife:
My heart leaps up to hail the hours,
That guerdon bring of vernal flowers,
And swell our veins with love and life.
I leap, I cry, â€œO summer, trace
Thy hues along the deepening wood,
Thy fleecy vapours on the flood,
Thy lush green grasses o'er the chase!
â€œO summer, come! Voluptuous queen,
Bright mistress of a magic wand!
And stir me with thy fairy hand,
And make me what I once have been!
â€œFor spring is fresh on mead and hill,
As fresh as those three Aprils gone;
But all my life is dead and wan,
My pulse of love is cold and still.
â€œI count the shadow, count the cloud,
And hail the growth of silent days;
But there were other notes of praise,
With which those springtide hours were loud.
â€œThey sounded in the windy strife,
I heard them in the dim starlight,
They shouted through the landscape bright,
They made me one with nature's life.â€
The light from yonder cliff is fled,
That yester morn so brightly shone;
They glory of thy love hath gone
From my dulled life, and left it dead.
Let sunshine fade from rock and sky,
Let Leigh's deep woodland walks be torn;
O'er ruined woods I will not mourn,
Which once were green, when you and I
Went hand in hand among the flowers,
Whose names I taught you, and I made
Rare crowns of columbines to shade
With purple buds the golden showers
Of your loved curls. At times we hung
Like eagles o'er the dizzy rock,
Where faintly boomed the hammer's shock,
And ever upward slowly swung
The sailor's melancholy chant;
While ships went gliding out to sea,
Sails furled and pennons floating free,
With sunlight on their sterns aslant;
Till evening yellowed over all
From Hesper in the dewy skyâ€”
The woods may fall, I will not sigh;
Love's star hath set, â€˜tis time they fall.
Three summers gone: and now once more
Pale autumn comes to pluck the leaf;
On every hill they bind the sheaf;
The oak-woods redden as of yore.
The woods may bronze; the golden ears
May gladden all the land with grain;
But I shall never feel again
The gladness of those bygone years.
How coldly steals the journeying night,
How silent sleeps, the garden spray:
Far down I hear the watch-dog bay;
I hear the sheep from yonder heights.
Swathed in thick mist the city lies:
Her lamps like myriad jewels peer
Through wreaths of vapour faintly clear;
Her chimes from muffled belfries rise.
Pale as the moon is memory's light,
Those April days as darkly lower,
As looms mid yonder mist the tower,
Which then with rays of morn were bright.
I hear his voice like yon thin chimes;
As those faint lamps his eyes are dim,
Deep midnight gloom encircles him,
Scarce can I dream of those dear times.
To thee far off, more far than death,
To thee I make my lonely rhyme,
Condemned to see thee not in time,
Though life and love still rule thy breath.
Our pulses beat, our hearts strike on;
They beat, but do not beat together;
Our years are young, but lusty weather
Wakes in our blood no unison.
We pace the self-same field and street,
We hear the same strong organ roll;
No music leaps from soul to soul,
Our paths are near, yet never meet.
Only in visions of the night
I seem with thee to watch the morn;
A tempest swells, and thou art borne
To lands I know not far from sight.