Love and Life
AS some faint wisp of fragrance, floating wide—
A pennant-perfume on the evening air—
From a walled garden, flower-filled and fair,
To drape a sudden beauty long denied
Upon life's highway desolate and dried—
So come you to me, as I, unaware,
Bend my strict eyes upon my pathway bare;
But at your presence straight I turn aside,
And passing in the garden see uncurled
The heart of hidden beauty in the world,
And love as life's one blossom is revealed.
My backward glance your floating tresses blind,
About my struggling hopes your white arms wind,
And I have yielded—but how sweet to yield!
Yet, in the prison of the garden bound,
The sluggish perfumes o'er my spirit fall,
And I lie languid in their sweetness' thrall,
Beneath the fragrance of much beauty drowned:
When through the fountain's murmur—lo, a sound
Insistent and reproachful! O'er the wall
Drops a faint echo of the Earth's deep call,
And I leap upright from the rose-strewn ground.
Outside the bracing wind sings, clean and chill;
Outside are tasks to do, blows to be struck;
And I must toil the dreary highway till
It broadens to the fields of death. Yet, ere
I leave for aye your perfumed close, I pluck
A shrivelled blossom that I kiss and wear.
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