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THERE were no roses till the first child died,
And white-lashed daisy-flower, nor, stretching wide,
Meeting and parting, as the young spring breeze Runs giddy races playing seek and hide:
For all flowers died when Eve left Paradise,
THE CHRYSALIS OF A BOOK-WORM.
I READ, O Friend, no pages of old lore,
Which I loved well; and yet the flying days, That softly passed as wind through green spring
And left a perfume, swift fly as of yore,
Thoughts high as Dante's in her clear blue eyes.
LIKE A LILAC.
LIKE a lilac in the Spring
Is my love, my lady-love; Purple-white, the lilacs fling
Scented blossoms from above:
So my love, my lady-love,
Throws soft glances on my heart;
Ah, my dainty lady-love,
Every glance is Cupid's dart.
Like a pansy in the Spring
Is my love, my lady-love;
Like the changeful month of Spring
All the sweeter, to my mind.
THE ANXIOUS LOVER.
I saw a damsel in a somber room,
And pale sweet roses, that perfumed the gloom;
If love can die, let my heart be as cold
I know that the sweet Spring will surely go,
I know that life will pass as passes snow
I know that all the maples on the hill
I know that all the singing birds that fill
The air with song, to silent dust will turn.
Oh! love, my love, can it, then, ever be
That thou or I may gaze upon love's death? That thou shalt some day, sad and silently, Look on me dumb and cold and without breath? Or shall I see thee lying white and wan,
Like yonder damsel in the flower-bed, And only say, "My lady sweet has gone; She's lost to me; she's dead-what meaneth 'dead'?"
If love can die, then I will no more look
Into thy eyes, and see thy pure thoughts there, Nor will I read in any poet's book
Of all the things that poets make so fair.
If love can die, the poet's art is vain,
And thy blue eyes might well be blossoms blue, And thy soft tears be only senseless rain,
If love can die, like flowers and souless dew.
I care not for thy smile, if love can die:
If I must leave thee, let me leave thee now. Shall I not know thee, if in Heaven high
I enter and before the Holy bow? Shalt not thou know me when before the throne Thou, white-robed one, shalt enter into light? I cannot think the Lord of Love has sown His precious seed to make but one day bright.
Would I were dead, if death could be the end
An arrow through my head, that death may tear Away my soul, and make me soon forget
The fair, sweet hope of love's eternal day, Which yet might die like purple violet
Strewn on the robe of her that passed away!
Ah, love, my love! when I look in thy eyes,
And hear thy voice, like softened village bells, Coming to one who long has sent up sighs
From foreign lands to be where his love dwells, My heart lifts up itself in ecstasy.
"Life were not life if our strong love could die. The earth may crumble, but our love and we Shall live forever. This is true!" I cry.
CYCLOPS TO GALATEA.
SOFTER than lambs and whiter than the curds,
Why did my mother on a dark-bright day
Bring you for hyacinths a-near my cave? I was the guide, and through the tangled way I thoughtless led you; I am now your slave. Peace left my soul when you knocked at my heart. Come, Galatea, never to depart!
Though I am dark and homely to the sight-
Last night I dreamed that I, a monster gilled,
With the sweet odors of all flowers rare;
Oh, brave and restless billows of your world: They toss and tremble; see my cypress-grove, And bending laurels, and the tendrils curled
Of honeyed grapes, and a fresh treasure-trove In vine-crowned Etna, of pure-running rills! O Galatea, kill the scorn that kills!
Softer than lambs and whiter than the curds,
Come, come to land, and hear the song of birds;
Plaits her long hair with purple flower-bells
And to the wind his love-lorn story tells: For well she knows that Cyclops will, ere long, Forget, as poets do, his pain in song.
TEN months had passed since rosy Herakles
Sleep, for the day has sunk in the red west;
Anemones and roses drop their leaves
My other self in two, my heart in two,
ANTONY TO CLEOPATRA.
I AM dying, Egypt, dying!
Ebbs the crimson life-tide fast;
Let thine arm, O Queen, support me,
Thou, and thou alone, must hear.
I must perish like a Roman
Die the great Triumvir still.
Let not Cæsar's servile minions
Mock the lion thus laid low; 'Twas no foeman's hand that felled him, 'Twas his own that struck the blow,— His who, pillowed on thy bosom, Turned aside from glory's rayHis who, drunk with thy caresses, Madly threw a world away. Should the base plebian rabble, Dare assail my fame at Rome, Where the noble spouse, Octavia, Weeps within her widowed home, Seek her; say the gods bear witnessAltars, augurs, circling wings— That her blood, with mine commingled, Yet shall mount the throne of kings. And for thee, star-eyed Egyptian,
Glorious sorceress of the Nile,
Light my path through Stygian darkness
I am dying, Egypt, dying!
WILLIAM HAINES LYTLE.
HERE, Charmian, take my bracelets,
A gauze on my bosom throw,
That over the garden blow.
I dreamed I was with my Antony,
Ah, me! the vision has vanished-
The flame and the perfume have perished,
Scatter upon me rose-leaves,
They cool me after my sleep, And with sandal odors fan me
Till into my veins they creep; Reach down the lute, and play me
A melancholy tune,
To rhyme with the dream that has vanished, And the slumbering afternoon.
There, drowsing in golden sunlight, Loiters the slow smooth Nile. Through slender papyri, that cover The wary crocodile,
The lotus lolls on the water,
And opens its heart of gold,
Those feathery palms to wave, And yon little cloud is as motionless As a stone above a grave.
Ah, me! this lifeless nature
Take rather his buckler and sword, And crash them and clash them together Till this sleeping world is stirred.
Hark! to my Indian beautyMy cockatoo, creamy white, With roses under his feathersThat flashes across the light.
Look! listen!.as, backward and forward,
To his hoop of gold he clings,
Cry, "Come, my love, come home!"
There, leave me, and take from my chamber That stupid little gazelle,
With its bright black eyes so meaningless, And its silly tinkling bell!
Take him; my nerves he vexes
The thing without blood or brain
Or, by the body of Isis,
I'll snap his thin neck in twain!
Leave me to gaze at the landscape
Where the afternoon's opaline tremors
Till the fiercer splendor of sunset
Their earthly forms expire;
And the bald blear skull of the desert
I will lie and dream of the past time,
I wandered, where never the track
The elephant, trumpeting, started,
I sucked in the noontide splendor,
And the shadow of sleep was gone;
Then I roused, and roared in answer,
And unsheathed from my cushioned feet
We toyed in the amber moonlight,
And struck at each other our massive arms-
His yellow eyes flashed fiercely
As he crouched and gazed at me,
With a wild triumphant cry,
And we met, as two clouds in heaven
Often another suitor
For I was flexile and fairFought for me in the moonlight,
While I lay crouching there,
Till his blood was drained by the desert; And, ruffled with triumph and power, He licked me and lay beside me
To breathe him a vast half-hour. Then down to the fountain we loitered, Where the antelopes came to drink; Like a bolt we sprang upon them, Ere they had time to shrink, We drank their blood and crushed them, And tore from limb to limb, And the hungriest lion doubted Ere he disputed with him.
That was a life to live for!
Not this weak human life,
The shadows of twilight grow,
Take me with triumph and power,
WILLIAM WETMORE STORY.
CLEOPATRA EMBARKING ON THE CYDNUS.
FLUTES in the sunny air,
And harps in the porphyry halls!
And a low, deep hum, like a people's prayer,
Flung back to the shouting shores;
The sky is a gleam of gold,
And the amber breezes float,
Like thoughts to be dreamed of, but never told,
She has stepped on the burning sand-
And Ethiope's heart throbs loud and high,
And the Lybian kneels, as he meets her eye,
The gales may not be heard,
Yet the silken streamers quiver,
And the vessel shoots like a bright-plumed bird,
Away down the golden river!
Away by the lofty mount,
And away by the lonely shore,
And away by the gushing of many a fount,
And hope and beauty blasted!
THOMAS KIBBLE HERVEY.
THE barge she sat in, like a burnished throne,
The winds were love-sick with them: the oars were silver;
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke, and made
In her pavilion-cloth of gold, of tissue-
With divers-colored fans, whose wind did seem
Her gentlewomen, like the Nereides,
So many mermaids, tended her i' the eyes,
Upon her landing, Antony sent to her,
It should be better he became her guest;
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. -From "Antony and Cleopatra.”
"SINCE CLEOPATRA DIED." "SINCE Cleopatra died!" Long years are past, In Antony's fancy, since the deed was done. Love counts its epochs, not from sun to sun, But by the heart-throb. Mercilessly fast Time has swept onward since she looked her last On life, a queen. For him the sands have run Whole ages through their glass, and kings have won And lost their empires o'er earth's surface vast Since Cleopatra died. Ah! Love and Pain
Make their own measure of all things that be.
The life they own is not the life we see;
Lo, by Nilus' languid waters
Fades the dreamy summer day, Where, on couch of gold and crimson, Egypt's royal daughter lay,Dreaming lay, while palm and pillar Cast their lengthening shadows now,
And the lotus-laden zephyrs
Lightly kissed her queenly brow.