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Title: Sonnets and Songs
Author: Whitney, Helen Hay, 1875-1944
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sonnets and Songs" ***

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Internet Archive)



 SONNETS
 AND SONGS

 BY
 HELEN HAY WHITNEY

 NEW YORK AND LONDON

 HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

 MCMV



 Copyright, 1905, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
 _All rights reserved._
 Published August, 1905.



 TO
 P. W.



 _Contents_

 SONNETS


                                        PAGE

 Ave atque Vale                           3
 "Chaque baiser vaut un roman"            4
 As a Pale Child                          5
 Flower of the Clove                      6
 Too Late                                 7
 The Supreme Sacrifice                    8
 Malua                                    9
 Love's Legacy                           10
 How we would Live!                      11
 In Extremis                             12
 The Forgiveness                         13
 With Music                              14
 Alpha and Omega                         15
 Flowers of Ice                          16
 Love and Death                          17
 The Message                             18
 Tempest and Calm                        19
 After Rain                              20
 Not through this Door                   21
 Pot-Pourri                              22
 Eadem Semper                            23
 To a Woman                              24
 Aspiration--I                           25
 Aspiration--II                          26
 The Gypsy Blood                         27
 Not Dead but Sleeping                   28
 The Last Gift                           29
 Amor Mysticus                           30
 The Pattern of the Earth                31
 Disguised                               32


 SONGS

 On the White Road                       35
 The Wanderer                            36
 False                                   37
 A Song of the Oregon Trail              38
 The Apple-Tree                          39
 Silver and Rose                         40
 To-Morrow                               41
 The Greater Joy                         42
 The Rose-Colored Camelia-Tree           43
 Good-Bye Sorrow                         44
 In Harbor                               45
 Rosa Mundi                              46
 The Ribbon                              47
 The Aster                               48
 Heart and Hand                          49
 The Golden Fruit                        50
 To a Moth                               52
 Winter Song                             53
 Youth                                   54
 Persephone                              55
 Étoiles d'Enfer                         57
 Enough of Singing                       58
 Truth                                   59
 The Philosopher                         60
 Prayers                                 61
 A South-Sea Lover Scorned               62
 In May                                  64
 For Your Sake                           65
 Lyric Love                              67
 Be Still                                68
 Butterfly Words                         69
 Music                                   70
 The Ghost                               72
 Fight!                                  74
 In Tonga                                75
 This was the Song                       76
 To E. D.                                78
 The Dance                               79
 Vanquished                              80
 Tranquillity                            81



 SONNETS



I

_Ave atque Vale_


 As a blown leaf across the face of Time
   Your name falls emptily upon my heart.
   In this new symmetry you have no part,
 No lot in my fair life. The stars still chime
 Autumn and Spring in ceaseless pantomime.
   I play with Beauty, which is kin to Art,
   Forgetting Nature.  Nor do pulses start
 To hear your soul remembered in a rhyme.

 You may not vex me any more. The stark
   Terror of life has passed, and all the stress.
   Winds had their will of me, and now caress,
     Blown from bland groves I know. Time dreams, and I,
     As on a mirror, see the days go by
 In nonchalant procession to the dark.



II

"_Chaque baiser vaut un roman._"


 I, living love and laughter, have forgot
   The way the heart has uttered melody.
   As sobbing, plaintive cadence of the sea
 A poet's soul should rest, remembering not
 The inland paths of green, the flowers, the spot
   Where fairies ring. In hermit ecstasy
   Music is born, and gay or wofully
 Lovers of Poesy share her lonely lot.

 For you and me, Beloved, crowned with Spring,
   Catching Love's flowers from off the lap of Time,
 What are the songs my voice has scorned to sing?
 Ghostly they hover round my heart-wise lips;
   Into a kiss I fold my rose of Rhyme,
 Laid like a martyr on your finger-tips.



III

_As a Pale Child_


 As a pale child, hemmed in by windy rain,
   Patiently turns to touch his well-known toys,
   Playing as children play who make no noise,
 Yet happy in a way; then sighs again,
 To watch the world across the storm-dim pane,
   And sees with wistful eyes glad girls and boys
   Who romp beneath the rain's unlicensed joys,
 And feels wild longings sweep his gentle brain.

 So I, contented with my flowers for stars,
   Stroll in my fair, walled garden happily,
   Knowing no gladder game till, shrill and sweet,
   I hear life's cry ring down the silent street,
 And press my face against the sunlit bars
   To watch the joyous spirits who are free.



IV

_Flower of the Clove_


 Ah, Love, have pity!--I am but a child;
   I ask but light and laughter, and the tears
   Darken the sunlight of my fairest years.
 By love made desolate, by love beguiled,
 I waste the Spring. Love's harvest wains are piled
   With poppies and gold grain--I glean but fears
   Of empty hands, grim hunger, and the jeers
 Of happy wives whose loves are reconciled.

 But mine! Ah, mine is like a tattered leaf
   Upon a turbid stream. I have no pride,
 No life, but love, which is a bitter grief.
   As a lost star I wander down your sky.
   Give me your heart. Open it wide--so wide!
   I must have love and laughter, or I die.



V

_Too Late_


 Upon your stone the wine of my desire
   Is spilled. Your poppy lips have grown too pale
   From fasting. Your white hands will not avail
 The cold eyes of your heart to light the fire.
 I did not think my prayers could ever tire.
   Now, like doomed ships, they flutter without sail.
   Lost in a calm which held no rock, no gale--
 Now, when your chilly smile bids me aspire!

 So, without history, my soul is slain--
   Woman of barren love; the wine was red--
 Beautiful for your spending. Not again
   Will the bud blossom where the frost has sped.
 Timid, you dared not hark when angels sang.
 All, all is lost, without one saving pang.



VI

_The Supreme Sacrifice_


 Better than life, better than sea and morn,
   And all the sun-stained fragments of the day--
   Ah! more than breeze, than purple clouds that stray
 Across dim twilights--I, the tempest-torn,
 Fighting the stars for glory, who must scorn
   Heart-drops bespread along love's cruel way
   Like scattered petals on the breast of May--
 Better than life I love you, I forlorn.

 Better than death--the sleeping and the peace
   When warm within the breast of brooding Earth
 My weary heart should give its woes release,
     The pitiful dark remembering not my loss,
   The calm, wise years restoring joy for dearth--
     Better than death, my love, my burning cross.



VII

_Malua_


 Out of the purple treasuries of night
   Came the dark wind of evening silver-starred--
   Stirred on his cheek. The forest keeping ward
 Breathed with a tremulous silence, and the bright,
 Bare moon crowned his adoring brow with light.
   The exquisite dream of beauty held him hard
   In a great love, a forest love, unmarred--
 Still unprofaned--by human nature's sight.

 Guarding the temple gates of peace he stood,
   Statue of bronze with pagan heart of stone.
 Sudden, a dazzling glory lit the wood--
     Moon in his soul that dimmed the moon above.
   Life was revealed, a Spring-sweet maid, alone--
     Beauty was woman, and the woman--Love.



VIII

_Love's Legacy_


 As one who looks too long upon the sun
   When he must turn to earth from flame-shot skies
   Sees all else dark through his bereaved eyes,
 And yet may watch the rainbow ribbons run
 Athwart the gravity of gray and dun,
   He holds the darkness dearer for the prize
   Wherein his only pledge of radiance lies
 When he the vast magnificence must shun.

 So we who play with rainbows, having seen
   The sun's own face. We may not hold the west,
     Which burns against the bosom of the night,
 But in the after-glow, with eyes serene,
   We still may find, dear heart, the sun's bequest,
     An echoed glory of our passionate light.



IX

_How we would Live!_


 How we would live! We'd drink the years like wine,
   With all to-morrows hid behind the veil,
   Which is your hair; between two lilies pale--
 Your slender hands--my heart should lie and shine,
 A crimson rose. We'd catch the wind and twine
   The evening stars--a chaplet musical--
   To crown our folly, lure the nightingale
 To sing the bliss your lips should teach to mine.

 And if the sage, declaring life is vain,
   Should frown upon the flower of all our days
 And chide the sun that knows no tears of rain,
     He should not tease our heart with cynic eye--
   The soul's vast altar stands beyond his gaze
     When two have lived--then shall they fear to die?



X

_In Extremis_


 Nay, touch me not, nor even with your eyes
   Hold mine, for I would speak you, thus afar,
   Aloof and chill and lonely as a star.
 The hands that urge, the hungry heart that cries,
 Have wrapped my love with love's elusive lies;
   The lips that burn have laid a ruddy scar
   Against the truth that stands without the bar,
 And blinded faith with passion's mysteries.

 Night holds a single moon, day one desire--
   Her golden sun; and life a love supreme,
 Wherein one moment poises, crowned with fire,
     White with the naked truth. Beyond control,
   'Tis here, my Sun, in love's last hour extreme,
     I hold aloft my bare, adoring soul.



XI

_The Forgiveness_


 If I might see you dead, Beloved--dead--
   Your false eyes closed forever to the light,
   Your false smile stilled upon my aching sight;
 If I might know that nevermore your head,
 Cruelly fair, could lie upon the bed
   Of my torn heart; if I beheld the night
   Free from your living thought--ah! if I might,
 Then could my desolate soul be comforted.

 For this is worst of all the woes you gave--
   My heart may not forgive. The tired years go
 And leave the great love weeping for a grave,
     Scorned and unburied, 'neath the open sky.
   I could not love you less, to see you so.
     Loving you more, I might forgive--and die.



XII

_With Music_


 Dear, did we meet in some dim yesterday?
   I half remember how the birds were mute
   Among green leaves and tulip-tinted fruit,
 And on the grass, beside a stream, we lay
 In early twilight; faintly, far away,
   Came lovely sounds adrift from silver lute,
   With answered echoes of an airy flute,
 While Twilight waited tiptoe, fain to stay.

 Her violet eyes were sweet with mystery.
   You looked in mine, the music rose and fell
 Like little, lisping laughter of the sea;
     Our souls were barks, wind-wafted from the shore--
   Gold cup, a rose, a ruby, who can tell?
     Soft--music ceases--I recall no more.



XIII

_Alpha and Omega_


 I died to-day, and yet upon my eyes
   A glamour of the gorgeous summer green
   Still wavers, and my brain has kept a keen,
 Sweet bird-song. Glad with light, the summer skies
 Are sapphire, and a purple shadow lies
   Across the hills--no change is on the scene
   Since happy yesterday. Ah! can it mean
 The body lives when stricken spirit dies?

 The blow has fallen, yet I can recall
   The first of days when this dead heart drew breath--
 A wondrous moon-flower waking of a heart.
 Strange--then as now the moment seemed to part
   Body from soul, so like are birth and death;
 So did I gain, and so I lost my all.



XIV

_Flowers of Ice_


 The lights within the ice-floes are our flowers,
   Lily and daffodil and violet.
   Beneath these monstrous suns that never set
 Tremble soft rainbows, young as Earth's first hours,
 Ancient as Time. No balm of gentle showers
   Make for their growth; for them, gigantic, met
   The immemorial ice and sun, to get
 Such blossoms--pledge of Beauty's bravest powers.

 Violet and pale grass-green, the Spring-time dies
   In the soft South. To us, in this grim world,
 Daring with frozen heart and tearless eyes
     The North's white sanctity, Fate idly throws
   These alms--a deathless Spring of ice enfurled,
     And over all, far flung, the sunset rose.



XV

_Love and Death_


 I can believe that my Beloved dies,
   That all her virtue, all her youth shall fail,
   And life, her rosy life, grow cold and pale,
 To bloom again in braver Paradise.
 I must believe that death shall close her eyes,
   And hold her heart beyond a heavy veil,
   Where silences surround her spirit frail
 And waste the form where all my loving lies.

 Ah, God! but no. And is my love so weak?
   Her heart may pause, may falter and grow still,
 But not her laugh, the color in her cheek--
     That may not fade; the catch that lifts her breath,
   Sobbing against my heart. Essay your will--
     These are too dear to fill _your_ grave, O Death!



XVI

_The Message_


 When one has heard the message of the Rose,
   For what faint other calling shall he care?
   Dark broodings turn to find their lonely lair;
 The vain world keeps her posturing and pose.
 He, with his crimson secret, which bestows
   Heaven on his heart, to Heaven lifts his prayer,
   And knows all glory trembling through the air
 As on triumphal journeying he goes.

 So through green woodlands in the twilight dim,
   Led by the faint, pale argent of a star,
     What though to others it is weary night,
 Nature holds out her wide, sweet heart to him;
   And, leaning o'er the world's mysterious bar,
     His soul is great with everlasting light.



XVII

_Tempest and Calm_


 First came the tempest, and the world was torn
   Upon its mighty passion--all the deep
   Trembled before it. From the haggard steep
 To the sweet valley with its brooding corn,
 Its foaming lips in expletives of scorn
   Lashed into life the world's eternal sleep;
   Then, caught with madness, in gigantic leap
 Expired upon the heights where it was born.

 And then a hush--the dripping, tender rain
   Falls in warm tears. The thunder could not wake
     The grief that silence in her soul has furled.
 Soft sighs the wind, the sea is gray with pain--
   The fulness of a heart too tense to break--
     And deep, unuttered sadness in the world.



XVIII

_After Rain_


 The country road at lonely close of day
   Rests for a while from the long stress of rain;
   Dripping and bowed, the green walls of the lane
 Reflect no glistening light, no colors gay
 Has dying Summer left. The sky is gray,
   As though the weeping had not eased the pain.
   The Autumn is not yet, and all in vain
 Seems Summer's life--a blossom cast away.

 The air is hushed, save in the emerald shade
   The rain still drips and stirs each fretting leaf
   To soft insistence of its little grief.
     The hopeless calm all thought of life denies--
 But hark! out through the silence, unafraid,
     A robin ripples to the chilly skies.



XIX

_Not through this Door_


 Not through this door of elemental calm,
   Patient, wet woodland, resting after rain,
   Brooding brown fields that wait the sleeping grain--
 Not through this door may the wrecked spirit's balm--
 Come in and take possession. There's a psalm
   Nature has crooned to weariness and pain,
   Easing the tumult of the world-worn brain,
 Sweet, wholesome mother of the open palm.

 But the disastrous heart cries out for men,
   Strife where the fight is reddest. Verily
 Peace comes with fighting with the strength of ten,
   Here where the world is young, with naught to see.
     But day blow out across the long, low sky--
     Peace means an emptiness, which rests to die.



XX

_Pot-Pourri_


 All my dead roses! Now I lay them here,
   Shrined in a beryl cup. The mysteries
   Of their sweet hauntings and their witcheries
 Are not more subtle than this jewel clear,
 Are not more cold and dead. The winter's spear
   Has fallen on their heart, a heart so wise
   With lore of love. Dead roses. Beauty lies
 Hid in a perfume still supremely dear.

 Roses of love, time killed you one by one,
   Laughed at my pains as sad I gathered up
 All the fair petals banished from the sun.
     Witness my triumph--how the dead loves bless
   Life--from my heart, which is their beryl cup,
     Crowning the winter of my loneliness.



XXI

_Eadem Semper_


 How shall I hold you? By a scimitar
   Of flashing wit suspended o'er your head,
   Oh, my Beloved? Or with lips rose-red
 Lure you to Lethe? Shall I stand afar,
 Pale and remote and distant as a star,
   Challenging love? Or by a scarlet thread
   Jealousy's wiles, beguile by scorn and dread?
 Wounding the heart I love with hateful scar.

 Nay, I can take no action, play no play;
   All my wit falters when I hear you speak,
     All my wise guile with which your wooing strove
 Vanishes as the sun of yesterday.
   I can but lay my cheek against your cheek--
     Love me or leave me, I can only love.



XXII

_To a Woman_


 Take all of me, pour out my life as wine,
   To dye your soul's sweet shallows. Violent sin
   Blazed me a path, and I have walked therein,
 Strong, unashamed. Your timorous hands need mine,
 As the white stars their sky, your lips' pale line
   Shall blush to roses where my lips have been.
   I ask no more. I do not hope to win--
 Only to add myself to your design.

 Take all of me. I know your little lies,
 Your light dishonor, gentle treacheries.
   I know, I lie in torment at your feet,
 Shadow to all your sun. Take me and go,
   Use my adoring to your honor, sweet,
 Strength for your weakness--it is better so.



XXIII

_Aspiration_

I


 The pale and misty particles of Time
   Hover about us; scarce our eyes can see
   Youth's far-off dream of what we were to be.
 Life's truth, which once we would redeem with rhyme,
 Has proved instead a world-worn pantomime.
   The running river of expediency
   Has drowned the hopes that Fortune held in fee--
 Why fall upon the track so many climb?

 Why strive to speak what all the earth has heard?
   Why labor at a work the ages plan?--
     Life has been lived so oft--an outworn thing!
 Then hark! the time-sweet carol of a bird,
   New as a flower; and see--ah, shame to man!
     The endless aspiration of the Spring.



XXIV

_Aspiration_

II


 The full throat of the world is charged with song,
   Morning and twilight melt with ecstasy
   In the high heat of noon. Simply to be,
 Palpitant where the green spring forces throng,
 Eager for life, life unashamed and strong--
   This is desire fulfilled. Exalted, free,
   The spirit gains her ether, scornfully
 Denies existence that is dark or wrong.

 This is enough, to see the song begun
   Which shall be finished in some field afar.
   Laugh that the night may still contain a star,
   Nor idly moan your impotence of grace.
   Life is a song, lift up your care-free face
 Gladly and gratefully toward the sun.



XXV

_The Gypsy Blood_


 He gives me happiness, as flowers depend
   On loyal sun and shower. I look to love
   To give me life. Why is it not enough?
 Divine contentment, stretching without end
 O'er happy meadows. He's my love, my friend,
   And peace is in the word. You--heart's despair--
   Sweep like a tempest through my sunsweet air,
 Wail like a lost soul through my blossomed grove.

 Tempest and calm, with him my heart might rest,
 Lulled by eternal spring. The dream is blest,
   Yet the wild grapes you crush make life divine.
 Out in the pathless dark, all yours, I go,
   Brave with the purple promise of the wine.
 You, you I love, because you bring me woe.



XXVI

_Not Dead but Sleeping_


 And if I came, ah, if I came again,
   And laid my hand on your forgetful heart,
   Where once it lay so warm, could the pulse start,
 Remembering Spring? Now, at the sound of rain,
 I do but turn a little in disdain
   To see the flowers renew their lovely part,
   Blooming afresh. For memory holds no smart,
 Love aches no more to know how it was slain.

 Yet if I came to you who heed no more
   My name upon the wind? Love's ghost, lean near,
   I have a word that only you may hear.
     If you should come to me with dear desire,
 My soul's dry staff should tremble to its core
     And flame against your touch in buds of fire.



XXVII

_The Last Gift_


 What shall I give to her who will not care
   If I give soul or roses, will not know
   How that, for sweets she'll spend, light smiles she'll sow,
 I will reap bitter tears? If she could wear
 Those tears as stars to sparkle in her hair!
   What shall I give? I have not fall'n so low
   I may not lay one gift before I go
 Upon the altar of my heart's despair.

 She will not know; yet, in my love a king,
   I must be worthy of my crown and throne,
 And so can sacrifice no little thing.
     My life, my soul are worthless since her scorn.
   Slay we then love on love's red altar-stone--
     Beggared of all, I face the world forlorn.



XXVIII

_Amor Mysticus_


 Not you, nor all the gauds that Fate bestows,
   Can make me swerve so little from my dream.
   Across my veil of mystery you seem
 Perhaps a little dearer than the rose,
 Perhaps more fair than the long light that flows
   Between the lids of twilight. But the gleam
   Of iris on the breast of wisdom's stream
 Is of a radiance that no rival knows.

 My heart is not my heart, or it might chance
   To sorrow for the sorrow in your tears;
 My soul is locked against all circumstance
     Of life or love or death or heaven or hell;
   I have no place for laughter in my years,
     No room where little, little love might dwell.



XXIX

_The Pattern of the Earth_


 The pattern of the earth, so wonderful,
   Is, more than myrtle, very dear to me.
   Across the avenue of limes I see
 A little mist by ghosts made magical,
 Tossing across the hills, more beautiful
   Than the deep eyes of amber women, free
   Of shame and of disdain, on some far sea
 Swept by trade-winds the sun makes lyrical.

 There is no air the mind may not recall,
 Blown from the violet-beds of Greece; and all
   The moons who drop their shattered petals here
 Live from the days which hid Semiramis.
   Breezes upon my lips are subtly dear,
 Because they bear the burden of her kiss.



XXX

_Disguised_


 The beggar thoughts pass down the lanes of day,
   And on the thorns that are the hours I find
   Their tatters and their rags. Infirm and blind,
 They faded in the void, and all the way
 Mouthed senseless jeers at me. I dared not pray
   For wisdom from these fools who throng the mind
   And leave no gifts but bitterness behind.
 Chin upon hand, I watched, nor bade them stay.

 Then wearily and indolently glanced
   Where the thorns fluttered with their flags, and, lo,
 Fragments of cloth of silver gleamed and danced
   In the late sun, and linen white as snow
 Among the beggar thoughts, with lowered eyes,
 Princes and kings had wandered in disguise.



SONGS



I

_On the White Road_


 There's a white, white road lies under the swinging moon,
   Stretched from the black of the deep to the black of the deep,
 And midway the graveyard lies, with its leaves a-croon,
   The only sound of the world, like a dream in sleep.

 There's a white, white grave lies under the graveyard trees,
   Hung on the road as a single pearl on a thread,
 And silence waits, beast crouched, on the rim of the breeze,
   That moans where the only man in the world lies dead.



II

_The Wanderer_


 Have I finished my life, am I done?
   Is my heart-blood thin and cold,
 That I gnaw the bones of the town?
   Am I empty and old?

 My flags are the chimneys' grime,
   Tossed on a languid breeze.
 Have I dreamed of the roaring rhyme,
   A storm through the trees?

 The snow in the streets is black,
   Profaned with the city's sin;
 I know of a star-lit track
   Where God's hand has been.

 Have I finished with snow and sun,
   With the wind on the open plain,
 That I starve in the barren town--
   Is my life in vain?



III

_False_


 The black sky stretches to the pallid sea,
   As a false love and a dismantled heart.
   Empty of faith and eager to depart.
 He takes her yet once more, submissively,
   Against his lips, then, laughing, drifts away
   Swiftly within the dawning of the day.

 Blindly she tosses up her foam-white hands,
   Crying for mercy, and the wind--her hair--
   Lashes the wide-sailed ships and leaves them bare.
 Blindly she hurls her rage against the sands.
   There, in the cold sky where her love had lain
   Scornful, aloof, the sun reviews her pain.



IV

_A Song of the Oregon Trail_


 How long the trail! How far the goal!
   Last year the moons might come and go
   Like dancing shadows on the snow.
   My heart was light, my heart was strong;
   I cared not though the way be long;
 But now--the end is you--my soul!--

 I fear the dark, I fear the dread
   White frost that hovers round my heart,
   The cold, high sun, and, wide apart,
   The frozen, pitiless stars above.
   So far, so far from my true love,
 And, oh! I fear, I fear the dead!

 I fear their fingers, grasping and pale.
   I did not fear the dead last year--
   But now, the kisses of my dear!
   The breast of her, so kind and warm,
   Ah, heart! I must not come to harm--
 How far the goal! How long the trail!



V

_The Apple-Tree_


 The apple-tree is white with snow,
   My heart is empty as the day;
 The white hours indolently go
   Graveward, because my love's away.

 Months lag, then spring and love's return--
   Yet once again I seem to see,
 Flushed with delight, as kisses burn,
   White snow upon the apple-tree.



VI

_Silver and Rose_


 Pale as a petulant star,
   She held up her face to his love;
 Her spirit from his dwelt afar
   As the sky from the sea is above.

 Yet he gazed till her whiteness was rose,
   Dawn bright with the morning above--
 As the sea from the sky wakes and glows,
   So his image was mirrored in love.



VII

_To-Morrow_


 To-morrow and to-morrow--shall there be
 Perchance a morrow when I may not see
 Your face beside me any more?  Ah, no!
 My love, my love, I cannot let you go.
 Like sun in Egypt, ever kind and fair,
 My heart must wake at dawn and know you there--
 No dread of day which holds a weeping rain,
 No dread of chilly love and bitter pain,
 But ever present, ever wise and true,
 To-morrow and to-morrow holding you.



VIII

_The Greater Joy_


 Not that young Joy who looked with laughing eyes,
   That jocund sprite with open, idle fingers
   Stretched to the dawn, the dawn whose gold light lingers
 Across the far blue hills of Paradise.

 Not that young Joy, but one courageous, calm,
   Who--passed beyond the quiet morning meadows
   Beyond the dawn of life's delicious shadows--
 Holds the great sun and moon in either palm.

 In her wise heart she takes that little Joy,
   Kisses to sleep tired eyes with laughter over,
   Pointing to greater joys in heights above her--
 This shall be ours whom fate would fain destroy.



IX

_The Rose-Colored Camelia-Tree_


 Stained by the ardent silver of the stars,
   Glitter the leaves, a challenge to the day--
 The bright, fierce flame of naked scimitars
   Holds still the argent night, folded away.

 Challenging day, yet, lovelier than light,
   Blushing with dawn the flick'ring leaves between,
 Burn the rose blossoms, traitors to the night--
   Color of joy upon the tranquil green.

 Brave to the amorous sun, who, fearing, grieves,
   At last the tree's whole heart with love is crowned--
 The rose-red flowers warm against the leaves,
   The rose-red petals sweet against the ground.



X

_Good-Bye Sorrow_


 Day that began with a tear,
   Will you end with a sigh?
 Stay! See the blossoming year,
   Laugh up to the sky.
 Nay, here's a hope for your fear,
   Sweet sorrow--good-bye!



XI

_In Harbor_


 My little boat is in a bay,
   It swings with gentle motion,
 And there I lie and watch all day
   The far-off, noisy ocean.

 The ships go up, the ships go down,
   And never see me spying.
 They are the pride and fear of town--
   Sails wide and colors flying.

 They are so strong, they are so tall,
   They fear no storm, no sorrow;
 With brave eyes to the sun, they all
   Set sail for some to-morrow.

 Sometimes I long to range and roam,
   My harbor life bewailing,
 But little boats must bide at home,
   To gayly speed the sailing.



XII

_Rosa Mundi_


 O life that flowered at the very top of the tree,
   Redder than all the roses out of the South,
 This was the blossom colored and wrought for me,
   Sweeter than scarlet bloom of a maiden's mouth.

 Fain would I climb, and fain would I reach the flower.
   Ah, but the tree was tall as the flower was fair!
 Weary I grew and slept through the noonday hour;
   Winds caught my fate and strewed it over the air.



XIII

_The Ribbon_


 Ah, dearest, dearest, not alone
 I face the day's white monotone.
 The fair, bright ribbon of the hours--
 A mountain brook bestead through flowers--
 Runs, a dear line, from you to you.
 There is no smallest deed I do
 Through which the ribbon does not run,
 A silver string to pearls of sun.
 So glad I watch the moments fly
 Across the high-hung summer sky,
 Till in a radiant flame they burn,
 To mark the hour of your return.



XIV

_The Aster_


 The little vagrant gypsy flower
   Has blossomed forth again--
 Your face against the autumn sky,
   Your face against the rain.

 The fevered youth of summer days
   Has passed away in tears.
 The aged winter totters down
   The pathway of the years.

 Yet, nodding, luring, laughing o'er
   The tired world's pain and scars,
 Joyous I find between my hands
   Your face--in aster stars.



XV

_Heart and Hand_


 Singing, he smote his heart--
   The woman smiled,
 And Love leaped, flaming,
   Into being--wild.

 Singing, he smote his hands--
   The woman sighed,
 And Love grew weary,
   Turned his face, and died.



XVI

_The Golden Fruit_


 I lacked not Love, I lacked not lovely Love,
 But, ah, the apples of Hesperides!
 The golden apples and the emerald trees,
 The flower-sweet maidens, dancing in the breeze--
 Holds Love a blossom with such fruits as these?

 I gave up Love, I gave up lovely Love,
 And sought the island of enchanted skies,
 With little rainbow rifts of seraphs' eyes,
 Round which the flaming sword forever plies
 Against the darkened world of rue and sighs.

 Alas for Love! alas for lovely Love!
 In dreams I heard the beating of his wing;
 His soft voice, beautiful as sea in spring,
 Mourned through the empty songs the seraphs sing;
 Life seemed in sleep more dear than everything.

 Take me back, Love; take me back, lovely Love.
 Dark winds may drive me o'er thy tyrannous seas--
 Life is a world that breaks the thing it frees.
 I would be bound in all thy masteries--
 Yet, ah, the apples of Hesperides!



XVII

_To a Moth_


 Spirit of evil, heavily flying, turning,
   Dropping to earth,
 Caught to the light, with brown wings torn and burning,
   Whence was your birth?

 Was there a cause that, ceaselessly turning, flying,
   Drew you from night?
 All that we know is this--the aimless dying,
   Killed by the light.

 Evil the star that led you, spirit of evil,
   Out of your dark,
 Breeding desire that conquers us, man and devil--
   Passion's red spark.



XVIII

_Winter Song_


 Oh, it's winter, winter, when you're here,
   And summer when you're gone.
 What need of birds when hearts sing clear,
   From dusk of day to dawn?

 The noble wind, the silver snow,
   High stars, and, best of all,
 The red-rose hearth--a golden glow
   When twilight curtains fall.

 Who'd cry the heat of summer skies,
   The bare, despairing sun,
 The languid flowers, with closing eyes,
   The earth's fair wooing done?

 The possibilities of spring,
   The reticence of bliss,
 Love with the winter's argent wing,
   We'll scorn the sun for this.



XIX

_Youth_


 Youth and its pensive agonies! How soon
 The restless heart forgets to crave the moon!
 Age is too weary for the butterflies--
 Spring's rainbow radiance fluttering through sweet skies,
 Hope merrily deferred. We see the morn,
 We who are old, in shattered fragments. Scorn
 For laughter and for singing clouds our breast.
 Youth, take your fill of pleasure, for the rest
 Of Age is endless. Sing, nor grudge the song--
 Youth is so short, and Age, quiet Age, so long!



XX

_Persephone_


 Persephone, Persephone--her sweet face wanders up to me,
   Through this bewildering maze of spring.
     At length she daunts the tyrannous year,
     Her little laugh usurps the tear,
   Her little song she dares to fling
 Against the black stars, merrily.

 Persephone, Persephone--her hands lean through the spring to me.
   Sweet, could I show you in what wise
     Your song has blossomed--how the air
     Is mad with gold because your hair,
   Tossed golden 'neath your sea-blue eyes,
 And earth goes laughing with your glee?

 Persephone, Persephone, this hour sends out your heart to me.
   Child of the Dark, with soul sun-bright,
     Ah, give me largesse, give me May,
     So shall I charm the saddest day,
   And life--one amber dawn's delight--
 Shall bear your song eternally.



XXI

_Étoiles d'Enfer_


 The four wide winds of evening have their stars,
   Fashioned in fire, in purity of snow,
 Tossed to their height by endless avatars--
   These all the righteous know.

 What of the stars of Hades? On the gloom
   The outcast see them shine like angels' eyes,
 And in the living night that is their tomb
   They dream of Paradise.

 They know the stars of Hades. They are deeds,
   Wickedly born, which came to good at last--
 Fair blossoms spring from villany of weeds,
   Rest--and redeem the past.



XXII

_Enough of Singing_


 Enough of singing; since your heart is tired,
 We'll leave the lute, so long, so long desired,
 And in the silence speak one quiet word,
 Simple as earth, forgetting song and bird.

 No more of singing; mating-time has sped,
 In the broad fields the poppy-lips are red.
 Crush them, Beloved, drink the lethe deep;
 Song being dead, what else is left but sleep?



XXIII

_Truth_


 Up from the soul, as a blade of grass from the sod,
 Springs the intent of the prayer as a cry to God.
 Blossoms may veil it or visions with ways uncouth,
 He sees the ultimate grass-blade, the heart of Truth.



XXIV

_The Philosopher_


 The grim immensities are mine,
   The sunlight on the brook is theirs;
 I drink the lees of bitter wine,
   Fate grants a gift to all their prayers.

 I stammer, all afire to tell
   The thoughts that urge for life like pain;
 For them words brim the shallow well
   Like easy drops of summer rain.

 And which, ah, Heaven, which is best--
   The little lute for every mood,
 Or, shrinking coldly from life's test,
   The heights and depths of solitude?



XXV

_Prayers_


 Prayers that were birds winging wide,
   Daring the flame of the sun,
 How have you faltered and died,
   Now the day's done!

 Prayers must be brave for the dark,
   Strong for the chill of the star,
 Fearing no fate to embark
   Over the bar.

 Prayers of the sun and the moon,
   Prayers for the sky and the nest,
 All must reach haven so soon--
   Which shall reach rest?



XXVI

_A South-Sea Lover Scorned_


 When the red coral of your lip is pale
   As the bleached sea-sand, ah, wearily, wearily,
 Will you behold your face, your fingers frail,
   Gnarled like a wind-blown tree; your star-bright eyes
 Blind as a cloudy midnight without moon.
   No more fair necklaces nor scarlet dyes
 Can make you cruel to men, for soon, so soon,
   Your heart will bear the years--ah, wearily, wearily.

 Then I, your scorn, shall still be man and chief;
   Turning to free your hands so carelessly, carelessly,
 You will be dead to love past all belief.
   Still round the slender columns of the palm
 The moon shall lie in shivering, silver pools,
   Still shall the trades lash through the summer calm
 While twilight with her smile the island cools
   And Time forgets your presence, carelessly, carelessly.



XXVII

_In May_


 Blithe Nature leaned to kiss her favorite child,
   Her sunshine hair about her bosom swirled;
 Gay Baby Spring held out his hands, he smiled,
   And Apple-Blossoms dimpled on the world.



XXVIII

_For Your Sake_


 Bid me for your sake,
   Not for self or right--
 You alone can wake
   Power to gain the fight.

 In your name I'd dare
   Aught in earth's great bounds;
 Forth my sins should fare,
   Leashed like cringing hounds.

 When you touch my hand,
   Through your holy eyes
 I can see the land
   Where is Paradise.

 Yet I may not go,
   Leaving cold and night,
 Till your soul of snow
   Sees that mine is white.

 Let my heart not break
   Till I kill my sin;
 Bid me for your sake
   Fight the world--and win!



XXIX

_Lyric Love_


 The world deserves its wisdom. You and I,
   Serene within the shadow, crowned with hours,
 Cinctured with solitude, the bended sky
   Folds us in hues of tulip twilight flowers.

 Knowledge is chill; your hair is warm with gold,
   A lock lies heavily across your cheek.
 I somewhere heard of darkness, pain, and cold--
   Keep your own, world. Ah, Love, stir not nor speak.



XXX

_Be Still_


 Be still, be still, vex not the night with sound,
   The moon has laid her finger on the lake,
 And in the shadows of the wood profound
   There lies a peace we would profane to break.

 Upon the lonely avenue of trees,
   As pearls upon an airy silver string,
 Are caught the threaded echoes of the breeze
   That sets the ruffled leaves a-murmuring.

 Be still, dear heart, as though 'twere death to speak.
   Love waits you, lily-like, with leaves unfurled,
 While on the breast of day night lays her cheek,
   The silence speaks the secret of the world.



XXXI

_Butterfly Words_


 Butterfly words from the sun in my brain,
 Flitting and darting and flitting again,
   Gleaming of golden and violet and rose,
 What is the rainbow you spring from, and where?
   Butterflies daintily poise and disclose,
 Whence is this secret of color you bear?

 Sun that is ruddy and fragrant with flowers,
 Garnered and hid from these desolate hours,
   Misty with beauty, the silver of spring--
 Ah, for the ways that are lost to my feet!
   Only the dip of the butterfly wing,
 Poised for a moment, revives me the sweet.



XXXII

_Music_


 Music has opened her hands,
 Through fingers her jewels are falling,
 Fingers so delicate slender,
 Pale as the ghost of a flower.

 Jewels of crimson, the life
 Ebbing from hearts that are broken,
 Roses and wine and red sunsets,
 Flames of undying desire.

 Jewels of azure, the sea
 Dreaming of stars, and the morning
 Dancing with life, then the silence
 Blue of mysterious caves.

 Jewels of green, and the grass
 Lifts up its hands to the summer,
 Hiding insidious serpents,
 Fair as the sweets that are sin.

 Jewels more bright than the sun
 Music lets fall from her fingers.
 We who have stood in the shadow--
 How may we die for her sake?



XXXIII

_The Ghost_


 You came and you went, and I swept you aside, not a trace
 Does my wisdom endure of your words and your beautiful face
   And the curls of your hair;
 Yet your presence, a song, murmurs ever in hopeless refrain,
 And I wake in the night with my empty hands yearning in vain
   For the touch of your hair.

 You went, and I triumphed--I crushed out my heart with a kiss
 On the lips that are ashen, forgetting spring's wonderful bliss
   And your tremulous lips;
 Yet the kisses were ghostly with jasmine, dear jasmine of May--
 The new has the soul of the old, is aflame with the way
   And the touch of your lips.

 You came and you went, and the world wearies on with its game.
 My heart never falters or fears at the sound of your name
   Or the sight of your face;
 Yet the ghost of our passion stands white in the midst of my heart,
 With your hands and your hair, and I know it will never depart
   Passion's ghost with your face!



XXXIV

_Fight!_


 Fight, though the bulwarks of your faith may fall,
   Life become gray and full of weariness,
   Love prove a lie and wisdom bitterness--
 Fight, for the strife alone avails for all.

 Fight and fight on, exulting in the light,
   Standing alert and upright gleefully,
   Seizing life's joys and woes courageously,
 Man to the end, and master--laugh and fight.



XXXV

_In Tonga_


 The windy rain beats, beats about my door--
   Alas for love when love goes wandering!
 The dawn mist rises on the forest floor--
   Alas for life when love goes wandering!
 With wet, green leaves the palm-trees lash the night,
 The pitiless trades drive wild gods in their flight.
   And, ah, my lover! Moons have come and gone,
   The fighting ended, still he lingers on.
 Sleepless I hear the demon wind above--
   Alas for love when love goes wandering!
 And I must wed with one I do not love--
   Alas for life when love goes wandering!



XXXVI

_This was the Song_


 We have forgotten. This the rowers knew,
   Straining within the galleys' reeling night.
 Life bent to breaking, while their great souls grew
 Strong in the ancient purposes of Time.
   This was the song whereby they made their fight,
 Laughed as they swung. Gods! how the cord bit through!

 This was the song the pagan lovers heard,
   Wakened by flowers in a rose-red dawn.
 Through the bright dew they fled, like ocean stirred
 With morning. Bare and beautiful they ran,
   Holding each other's hand. Through leaves they're gone,
 Cleaving the silver pool with flash of bird.

 Carven in stone, Abydos holds it fast--
   The little Eastern dancer with her lute,
 Wild Erin's faeries crying for the past.
 They keep the deathless secret of the word
   Hid behind Nature's lips, who, grave, remote,
 Guard this from profanation till the last.

 Not unto us who bide the ebb and flow,
   The senseless order of the tide of law.
 We have forgotten to be free; we know
 Only the iteration of the day.
   The priceless moon, white pearl without a flaw,
 Drowns in the muddy stream of worldly woe.

 We take the petty part and leave the whole.
   Lost to our ken the song of Nature's youth--
 The great barbaric winds that sweep the soul
   And leave it emptied of all else but truth.



XXXVII

_To E. D._


 She wrought her songs in secret ways,
   Yet cared not where they fell;
 Her soul distilled itself like dews
   In rue and asphodel.

 They fell in countless happy hearts,
   Made wise by sun and showers,
 Like pollen blown about the earth,
   Conceiving royal flowers.



XXXVIII

_The Dance_


 Like little, eager children
   The tiptoe tulips stand,
 Row upon row of dancing heads
   In joyous saraband.

 With lithe, long emerald petticoats,
   And happy hands tossed up,
 The sunshine is the laughter
   That brims their golden cup.



XXXIX

_Vanquished_


 Heart, here are roses burning with the South--
 ("Fairer was her false mouth")--
   Close your tired eyes, the twilight gives you rest--
   ("Cool was her snowy breast").

 Take of the sunshine, nor remember rain--
 ("Love is a cruel pain")--
   Hush! you shall sleep forgetting love's alarms--
   ("Sleep died in her false arms").



XL

_Tranquillity_


 Do you respect the heavy-lidded flowers
   That nod so drowsily upon their bed?
 Can you endure the slow-stepped, dreamy hours
   That fall, indifferent, to gold and red?

 Have you the key that opens to green arches
   Where trees repeat their prayers in monotone?
 Then take my hand down life's mysterious marches,
   And let us walk in silence and alone.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:

No changes have been made from the original book; this e-text is a
faithful transcription of the author's words and intent.





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