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IF love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf, Our lives would grow together In sad or singing weather, Blown fields or flowerful closes,
Green pleasure or gray grief ; If love were what the rose is,
And I were like the leaf.
If I were what the words are,
And love were like the tune, With double sound and single Delight our lips would mingle, With kisses glad as birds are
That get sweet rain at noon ; If I were what the words are,
And love were like the tune.
We'd play for lives and seasons
And laughs of maid and boy ;
And I were page to joy. If you were April's lady,
And I were lord in May, We'd throw with leaves for hours And draw for days with flowers, Till day like night were shady
And night were bright like day ; If you were April's lady,
And I were lord in May.
And I were king of pain,
And find his mouth a rein ; If you were queen of pleasure,
And I were king of pain.
If you were life, my darling,
And I your love were death, We'd shine and snow together Ere March made sweet the weather With daffodil and starling
And hours of fruitful breath; If you were life, my darling,
And I your love were death.
HESPERIA Out of the golden remote wild west where
the sea without shore is, Full of the sunset, and sad, if at all, with
the fulness of joy,
If you were thrall to sorrow,
And I were page to joy,
As a wind sets in with the autumn that
blows from the region of stories, Blows with a perfume of songs and of
memories belov'd from a boy, Blows from the capes of the past oversea
to the bays of the present, Fili'd as with shadow of sound with the
pulse of invisible feet, Far out to the shallows and straits of the
future, by rough ways or pleasant, Is it thither the wind's wings beat ? is it
hither to me, O my sweet ? For thee, in the stream of the deep tide
wind blowing in with the water, Thee I behold as a bird borne in with
the wind from the west, Straight from the sunset, across white
waves whence rose as a daughter Venus thy mother, in years when the
world was a water at rest. Out of the distance of dreams, as a dream
that abides after slumber, Stray'd from the fugitive flock of the
night, when the moon overhead Wanes in the wan waste heights of the
heaven, and stars without number Die without sound, and are spent like
lamps that are burnt by the dead, Comes back to me, stays by me, lulls me
with touch of forgotten caresses, One warm dream clad about with a fire
as of life that endures ; The delight of thy face, and the sound
of thy feet, and the wind of thy
tresses, And all of a man that regrets, and all of
a maid that allures. But thy bosom is warm for my face and
profound as a manifold flower, Thy silence as music, thy voice as an
odor that fades in a flame ; Not a dream, not a dream is the kiss of thy
mouth, and the bountiful hour That makes me forget what was sin,
and would make me forget were it
shame. Thine eyes that are quiet, thy hands that
are tender, thy lips that are loving, Comfort and cool me as dew in the dawn
of a moon like a dream ; And my heart yearns baffled and blind,
mov'd vainly toward thee, and mov
ing As the refluent seaweed moves in the
languid exuberant stream,
Fair as a rose is on earth, as a rose under
water in prison, That stretches and swings to the slow
passionate pulse of the sea, Clos’d up from the air and the sun, but
alive, as a ghost re-arisen, Pale as the love that revives as a ghost
re-arisen in me. From the bountiful infinite west, from the
happy memorial places Full of the stately repose and the lordly
delight of the dead, Where the fortunate islands are lit with
the light of ineffable faces, And the sound of a sea without wind is
about them, and sunset is red, Come back to redeem and release me from
love that recalls and represses, That cleaves to my flesh as a flame, till
the serpent has eaten his fill ; From the bitter delights of the dark, and
the feverish, the furtive caresses That murder the youth in a man or ever
his heart have its will. Thy lips cannot laugh and thine eyes can
not weep; thou art pale as a rose
is, Paler and sweeter than leaves that cover
the blush of the bud; And the heart of the flower is compassion,
and pity the core it incloses, Pity, not love, that is born of the breath
and decays with the blood. As the cross that a wild nun clasps till the
edge of it bruises her bosom, So love wounds as we grasp it, and black
ens and burns as a flame; I have lov'd overmuch in my life : when
the live bud bursts with the blos
som, Bitter as ashes or tears is the fruit, and
the wine thereof shame. As a heart that its anguish divides is the
green bud cloven asunder; As the blood of a man self-slain is the
flush of the leaves that allure ; And the perfume as poison and wine to the
brain, a delight and a wonder ; And the thorns are too sharp for a
boy, too slight for a man, to en
dure. Too soon did I love it, and lost love's rose;
and I car'd not for glory's : Only the blossoms of sleep and of plea
sure were mix'd in my hair.
Was it myrtle or poppy thy garland was By the meadows of memory, the highlands woven with, O my Dolores ?
of hope, and the shore that is hidden, Was it pallor or slumber, or blush as of Where life breaks loud and unseen, a blood, that I found in thee fair ?
sonorous invisible tide ; For desire is a respite from love, and the By the sands where sorrow has trodden, flesh, not the heart, is her fuel ;
the salt pools bitter and sterile, She was sweet to me once, who am fled By the thundering reef and the low sea and escap'd from the rage of her
wall and the channel of years, reign ;
Our wild steeds press on the night, strain Who behold as of old time at hand as I turn, hard through pleasure and peril, with her mouth growing cruel,
Labor and listen and pant not or pause And flush'd as with wine with the blood
for the peril that nears ; of her lovers, Our Lady of Pain. And the sound of them trampling the way Low down where the thicket is thicker with
cleaves night as an arrow asunder, thorns than with leaves in the sum And slow by the sand-hill and swift by mer,
the down with its glimpses of grass, In the brake is a gleaming of eyes
Sudden and steady the music, as eight hoofs and a hissing of tongues that I trample and thunder,
Rings in the ear of the low blind wind of And the lithe long throats of her snakes the night as we pass ;
reach round her, their mouths over Shrill shrieks in our faces the blind bland come her,
air that was mute as a maiden, And her lips grow cool with their foam, Stung into storm by the speed of our made moist as a desert with dew.
passage, and deaf where we past ; With the thirst and the hunger of lust And our spirits too burn as we bound, thine
though her beautiful lips be so holy but mine heavy-laden,
As w burn with the fire of our flight; With the cold foul foam of the snakes
ah, love, shall we win at the last ? they soften and redden and smile ; And her fierce mouth sweetens, her eyes
wax wide and her eyelashes glit IN MEMORY OF WALTER SAVter,
AGE LANDOR And she laughs with a savor of blood in
her face, and a savor of guile. Back to the flower-town, side by side, She laughs, and her hands reach hither, her The bright months bring, hair blows hither and hisses
New-born, the bridegroom and the bride, As a low-lit flame in a wind, back-blown Freedom and spring.
till it shudder and leap ; Let her lips not again lay hold on my soul,
The sweet land laughs from sea to sea, nor her poisonous kisses,
Fill'd full of sun; To consume it alive and divide from thy All things come back to her, being free ; bosom, Our Lady of Sleep.
All things but one. Ah, daughter of sunset and slumber, if now
it return into prison, Who shall redeem it anew? but we, if
In many a tender wheaten plot
Flowers that were dead thou wilt, let us fly ;
Live, and old suns revive ; but not Let us take to us, now that the white skies That holier head.
thrill with a moon unarisen, Swift horses of fear or of love, take flight By this white wandering waste of sea, and depart and not die.
Far north, I hear They are swifter than dreams, they are
One face shall never turn to me stronger than death ; there is none
As once this year : that hath ridden, None that shall ride in the dim strange
Shall never smile and turn and rest ways of his life as we ride :
On mine as there,
And thou, his Florence, to thy trust
Receive and keep,
His sacred sleep.
ROSAMOND AT WOODSTOCK
So shall thy lovers, come from far,
Mix with thy name As morning-star with evening-star
His faultless fame.
LOVE AT SEA
Are you tir'd ? But I seem shameful to you, shameworthy, Contemnable of good women, being so bad, So bad as I am. Yea, would God, would
God, I had kept my face from this contempt of
yours. Insolent custom would not anger me So as you do ; more clean are you than I, Sweeter for gathering of the grace of God To perfume some accomplish'd work in
heaven? I do not use to scorn, stay pure of hate, Seeing how myself am scorn'd unworthily; But anger here so takes me in the throat I would speak now for fear it strangle me. Here, let me feel your hair and hands and
IMITATED FROM THÉOPHILE GAUTIER
Where shall we go ?
Or sail or row ?
May but May;
Where shall we go ?
I see not flesh is holier than flesh,
Or blood than blood more choicely quali
fied That scorn should live between them.
Better am I Than many women ; yon are not over
fair, Nor delicate with some exceeding good In the sweet flesh ; you have no much
tenderer soul Than love is moulded out of for God's
Who wrought our double need ; you are
not so choice That in the golden kingdom of your eyes All coins should melt for service. But I
that am Part of the perfect witness for the world How good it is ; I chosen in God's eyes To fill the lean account of under men, The lank and hunger-bitten ugliness Of half his people ; I who make fair heads Bow, saying, “Though we be in no wise
fair We have touch'd all beauty with our eyes,
we have Some relish in the hand, and in the lips Some breath of it,” because they saw me
once ; I whose curl'd hair was as a strong stak'd
net To take the hunters and the hunt, and bind Faces and feet and hands ; a golden gin Wherein the tawny-lidded lions fell, Broken at ankle ; I that am yet, ah yet, And shall be till the worm hath share in
me, Fairer than love or the clean truth of
God, More sweet than sober customs of kind
When the hounds of spring are on winter's
traces, The mother of months in meadow or
plain Fills the shadows and windy places
With lisp of leaves and ripple of rain ; And the brown bright nightingale amorous Is half assuaged for Itylus, For the Thracian ships and the foreign
faces, The tongueless vigil, and all the pain. Come with bows bent and with emptying of
quivers, Maiden most perfect, lady of light, With a noise of winds and many rivers, With a clamor of waters, and with
might; Bind on thy sandals, 0 thou most fleet, Over the splendor and speed of thy feet; For the faint east quickens, the wan west
shivers, Round the feet of the day and the feet
of the night.
Where shall we find her, how shall we sing
to her, Fold our hands round her knees, and
cling? O that man's heart were as fire and could
spring to her, Fire, or the strength of the streams
that spring! For the stars and the winds are unto her As raiment, as songs of the harp-player; For the risen stars and the fallen cling to
her, And the southwest-wind and the west
For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins ; The days dividing lover and lover, The light that loses, the night that
wins ; And time remember'd is grief forgotten, And frosts are slain and fowers begotten, And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.