A Summer's Dream

I.

WHAT that dead summer was my heart knows well —
Knows all it held — sad joy, and joyous pain —
For pain or joy it cannot come again,
With bitter sweetness we alone could tell: —
Time, when I only thought to say farewell,
To break the links of Love's long-during chain —
That I the stars should pass, and you remain,
Held fast to earth by some malignant spell.

Procession of long days, and longer nights —
When suns rose mocking, and the moon was cold —
When Hope and I lay dying, as I thought,
Still could I bless Love's vanishing delights,
And reach pale hands to clasp him as of old,
Though each dread hour with Death's dismay was fraught.

II.

So Summer, with her slow, reluctant feet,
Went by, and lingering smiled, as loth to part,
While fond delusions warmed my lonesome heart: —
Though lives were severed, winged dreams could meet;
So met we, dear, as bodiless spirits greet —
Met, and were blind, foreseeing not the smart
Of hopes that hope not, and of tears that start
From eyes that say what lips may not repeat.

One brief day here, then gone beyond the sun —
How short the way, how soon the goal is won —
So less or more of love why need we measure?
But Fate avenges pleasant things begun,
And Retribution spares not any one,
And no Gods pity those who steal their treasure.
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