Love in Exile

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 WAS again beside my Love in 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.

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.

D OST 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.

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.

W HY 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 channelled 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 your 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
 Melancholy monotone,
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?

I N 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 dripped 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 lies a-bleeding.

O N 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.

A H , 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.

Y EA , the roses are still on fire
 With the bygone heat of July,
 Though the least little wind drifting by
Shake a rose-leaf or two from the brier,
 Be it never so soft a sigh.

Ember of love still glows and lingers
 Deep at the red heart's smouldering core;
 With the sudden passionate throb of yore
We shook as our eyes and clinging fingers
 Met once only to meet no more.

W E 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.

Y OU 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.

D EAR , when I look into your eyes
 My hurts are healed, my heart grows whole;
 The barren places in my soul,
Like waste lands under April skies,
Break into flower beneath your eyes.

Ah, life grows lovely where you are;
 Only to think of you gives light
 To my dark heart, within whose night
Your image, though you bide afar,
Glows like a lake-reflected star.

Dare I crave more than only this;
 A thrill of love, a transient smile
 To gladden all my world awhile?
No more, alas! Is mortal bliss
Not transient as a lover's kiss?

A H , 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!

Y OUR looks have touched my soul with bright
Ineffable emotion;
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.

O H , brown Eyes with long black lashes,
  Young brown Eyes,
Depths of night from which there flashes
 Lightning as of summer skies,
 Beautiful brown Eyes!

In your veiled mysterious splendour
  Passion lies
Sleeping, but with sudden tender
 Dreams that fill with vague surmise
 Beautiful brown Eyes.

All my soul, with yearning shaken,
  Asks in sighs—
Who will see your heart awaken,
 Love's divine sunrise
 In those young brown Eyes?

O NCE on a golden day,
In the golden month of May,
I gave my heart away—
 Little birds were singing.

I culled my heart in truth,
Wet with the dews of youth,
For love to take, forsooth—
 Little flowers were springing.

Love sweetly laughed at this,
And between kiss and kiss
Fled with my heart in his:
 Winds warmly blowing.

And with his sun and shower
Love kept my heart in flower,
As in the greenest bower
 Rose richly glowing.

Till, worn at evensong,
Love dropped my heart among
Stones by the way ere long;
 Misprizèd token.

There in the wind and rain,
Trampled and rent in twain,
Ne'er to be whole again,
 My heart lies broken.

W HAT 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.

A S opiates to the sick on wakeful nights,
 As light to flowers, as flowers in poor men's rooms,
 As to the fisher when the tempest glooms
The cheerful twinkling of his village lights;
As emerald isles to flagging swallow flights,
 As roses garlanding with tendrilled blooms
 The unweeded hillocks of forgotten tombs,
As singing birds on cypress-shadowed heights.

Thou art to me—a comfort past compare—
 For thy joy-kindling presence, sweet as May
 Sets all my nerves to music, makes away
With sorrow and the numbing frost of care,
 Until the influence of thine eyes' bright sway
Has made life's glass go up from foul to fair.

P EACE , throbbing heart, nor let us shed one tear
 O'er this late love's unseasonable glow;
 Sweet as a violet blooming in the snow,
The posthumous offspring of the widowed year,
That smells of March when all the world is sere,
 And, while around the hurtling sea-winds blow—
 Which twist the oak and lay the pine tree low—
Stands childlike in the storm and has no fear.

Poor helpless blossom orphaned of the sun,
 How could it thus brave winter's rude estate?
 Oh love, more helpless love, why bloom so late,
Now that the flower-time of the year is done?
Since thy dear course must end when scarce begun,
 Nipped by the cold touch of untoward fate.

I T is a solemn evening, golden-clear—
 The Alpine summits flame with rose-lit snow
 And headlands purpling on wide seas below,
And clouds and woods and arid rocks appear
Dissolving in the sun's own atmosphere
 And vast circumference of light, whose slow
 Transfiguration—glow and after-glow—
Turns twilight earth to a more luminous sphere.

Oh heart, I ask, seeing that the orb of day
Has sunk below, yet left to sky and sea
 His glory's spiritual after-shine:
I ask if Love, whose sun hath set for thee,
May not touch grief with his memorial ray,
 And lend to loss itself a joy divine?

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
To Paradise.
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,
Beloved one;
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
In daffodils;
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.
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