Love In Autumn
It is already Autumn, and not in my heart only,
The leaves are on the ground,
Green leaves untimely browned,
The leaves bereft of Summer, my heart of Love left lonely.
Swift, in the masque of seasons, the moment of each mummer,
And even so fugitive
Love's hour, Love's hour to live:
Yet, leaves, ye have had your rapture, and thou, poor heart, thy Summer!
Love And Sleep
I have laid sorrow to sleep;
She who oft made me weep
I loved, and have forgot,
Love tells me she will not
She it was bid me go;
By what strange ways, ah! no
Because I cease to weep,
Here by the sea in sleep,
Child, I will give you rings to wear,
And, if you love them, dainty dresses,
Flowers for your bosom and your hair,
And, if you love them, fond caresses;
And I will give you of my days,
And I will leave, when you require it,
My dreams, my books, my wonted ways,
Content if only you desire it.
Love's captive, now his fugitive,
All this I give you, for my part.
I ask but what I cannot give,
I ask no more than this: your heart.
Grey Hours: Naples
There are some hours when I seem so indifferent; all things fade
To an indifferent greyness, like that grey of the sky;
Always at evening-ends, on grey days; and I know not why,
But life, and art, and love, and death, are the shade of a shade.
Then, in those hours, I hear old voices murmur aloud,
And memory forgoes desire, too weary at heart for regret;
Dreams come with beckoning fingers, and I forget to forget;
The world as a cloud drifts by, or I drift by as a cloud.
Degrees Of Love
When your eyes opened to mine eyes,
Without desire, without surprise,
I knew your soul awoke to see
All, dreams foretold, but could not be,
Yet loving me, not loving me.
When your eyes drooped before mine eyes,
As though some secret made them wise,
Some wisdom veiled them secretly,
I knew your heart began to be
In love with love, in love with me.
When your eyes tawned against mine eyes,
With beaten hunger, and with cries,
In bitter pride's humility,
Love, wholly mine, had come to be.
Hatred of love for loving me.
In The Wood Of Finvara
I have grown tired of sorrow and human tears;
Life is a dream in the night, a fear among fears,
A naked runner lost in a storm of spears.
I have grown tired of rapture and love's desire;
Love is a flaming heart, and its flames aspire
Till they cloud the soul in the smoke of a windy fire.
I would wash the dust of the world in a soft green flood:
Here, between sea and sea, in the fairy wood,
I have found a delicate, wave-green solitude.
Here, in the fairy wood, between sea and sea,
I have heard the song of a fairy bird in a tree,
And the peace that is not in the world has flown to me.
To A Dancer
Her eyes across the footlights gleam,
(The wine of love, the wine of dream)
Her eyes, that gleam for me!
The eyes of all that see
Draw to her glances, stealing fire
From her desire that leaps to my desire;
Her eyes that gleam for me!
A quickening fire within me, beat
The rhythms of her poising feet;
Her feet that poise to me!
Her body's melody,
In silent waves of wandering sound,
Thrills to the sense of all around,
Yet thrills alone for me!
And oh, intoxicatingly,
When, at the magic moment's close,
She dies into the rapture of repose,
Her eyes that gleam for me!
There are nine rubies in this Indian ring,
And every blood-red ruby is a part
Of the nine-petalled rose that is my heart,
The elaborate rose of my own fashioning.
Not out of any garden have I sought
The rose that is more brief than dawn or dew:
Stones of the flame and ice, I find in you
The image of the heart that I have wrought.
For you are cold and burn as though with fire,
For you are hard, yet veil soft depths below,
And each divided ruby seems to glow
With the brief passion of its own desire.
Rose of my heart, shall this too be the same?
For, when one light catches the wandering rays,
They rush together in one consuming blaze
Of indivisible and ecstatic flame.
The gipsy tents are on the down,
The gipsy girls are here;
And it's O to be off and away from the town
With a gipsy for my dear!
We'd make our bed in the bracken
With the lark for a chambermaid;
The lark would sing us awake in the morning,
Singing above our head.
We'd drink the sunlight all day long
With never a house to bind us;
And we'd only flout in a merry song
The world we left behind us.
We would be free as birds are free
The livelong day, the livelong day;
And we would lie in the sunny bracken
With none to say us nay.
The gipsy tents are on the down,
The gipsy girls are here;
And it's O to be off and away from the town
With a gipsy for my dear!
Against the world I closed my heart,
And, half in pride and half in fear,
I said to Love and Lust: Depart;
None enters here.
A gipsy witch has glided in,
She takes her seat beside my fire;
Her eyes are innocent of sin,
Mine of desire.
She holds me with an unknown spell,
She folds me in her heart's embrace;
If this be love, I cannot tell:
I watch her face.
Her sombre eyes are happier
Than any joy that e'er had voice;
Since I am happiness to her,
I too rejoice.
And I have closed the door again,
Against the world I close my heart;
I hold her with my spell; in vain
Would she depart.
I hold her with a surer spell,
Beyond her magic, and above:
If hers be love, I cannot tell,
But mine is love.
O Flame Of Living Love
O flame of living love,
That dost eternally
Pierce through my soul with so consuming heat,
Since there's no help above,
Make thou an end of me,
And break the bond of this encounter sweet.
O burn that burns to heal!
O more than pleasant wound!
And O soft hand, O touch most delicate,
That dost new life reveal,
That dost in grace abound,
And, slaying, dost from death to life translate!
O lamps of fire that shined
With so intense a light,
That those deep caverns where the senses live,
Which were obscure and blind,
Now with strange glories bright,
Both heat and light to his beloved give!
With how benign intent
Rememberest thou my breast,
Where thou alone abidest secretly;
And in thy sweet ascent,
With glory and good possessed,
How delicately thou teachest love to me!
The Last Memory
When I am old, and think of the old days,
And warm my hands before a little blaze,
Having forgotten love, hope, fear, desire,
I shall see, smiling out of the pale fire,
One face, mysterious and exquisite;
And I shall gaze, and ponder over it,
Wondering, was it Leonardo wrought
That stealthy ardency, where passionate thought
Burns inward, a revealing flame, and glows
To the last ecstasy, which is repose?
Was it Bronzino, whose Borghese eyes?
And, musing thus among my memories,
O unforgotten! you will come to seem,
As pictures do, remembered, some old dream.
And I shall think of you as something strange,
And beautiful, and full of helpless change,
Which I beheld and carried in my heart;
But you, I loved, will have become a part
Of the eternal mystery, and love
Like a dim pain; and I shall bend above
My little fire, and shiver, being cold,
When you are no more young, and I am old.
Serata Di Fiesta
Here in a city made for love
I wander loveless and alone,
Longing for the unknown,
Desiring one thing only, and above
Desire in love with love.
The beauty of the starlight dies
Over the city, as a flower
Droops, an unheeded hour;
Ah! barren beauty, when no lovelier eyes
Behold it as it dies.
I wander loveless and alone,
Alone with memory: she sings
Of other wanderings;
Even London half-divine, had I but known
What 'tis to be alone.
Had I but known! Could I but know
If here, or here, for surely here
The answer waits my ear,
Some lips my lips, some hands my hands; but oh,
Could these, could I, but know!
We seek each other, can I doubt?
For man is man, and woman kind,
And he who seeks shall find,
World without end; but how to ravel out
The inextricable doubt?
I am a shipwrecked sailor, lost
For lack of water on the sea:
Water, but none for me;
Water, but I, thirsting and fever-tossed,
In much abundance lost.
I bring to thee, for love, white roses, delicate Death!
White lilies of the valley, dropping gently tears,
The white camellia, the seal of perfect years,
The misty white azalea, flickering as a breath.
White flowers I bring, and all the flowers I bring for thee,
Discreet and comforting Death! for those pale hands of thine;
O hands that I have fled, soft hands now laid on mine,
Softer than these white flowers of life, thy hands to me,
Most comfortable Death, mother of many dreams,
And gatherer of many dreams of men,
Dreams that come desolately flying back again,
With soiled and quivering wings, from undiscovered streams.
I have been fearful of thee, mother, all life long,
For I have loved a warm, alluring, treacherous bride,
Life, and she loved thee not; to hold me from thy side,
She closed her arms about my heart, to do thee wrong.
O gay and bitter bride of such divine desires,
Too fiercely passionate Life, that wast so prodigal
Of thine eternal moments, at the end of all
Take my forgiveness: I have passed through all thy fires.
Nothing can hurt me now, and having gained and lost
All things, and having loved, and having done with life,
I come back to thy arms, mother, and now all strife
Ceases; and every homeward-flying dream, wind-tossed,
My soul that looks upon thy face and understands,
My throbbing heart that at thy touch is quieted,
And all that once desired, and all desire now dead,
Are gathered to the peace and twilight of thy hands.
Only to live, only to be
In Venice, is enough for me.
To be a beggar, and to lie
At home beneath the equal sky,
To feel the sun, to drink the night,
Had been enough for my delight;
Happy because the sun allowed
The luxury of being proud
Not to some only; but to all
The right to lie along the wall.
Here my ambition dies; I ask
No more than some half-idle task,
To be done idly, and to fill
Some gaps of leisure when I will.
I care not if the world forget
That it was ever in my debt;
I care not where its prizes fall;
I long for nothing, having all.
The sun each morning, on his way,
Calls for me at the Zattere;
I wake and greet him, I go out,
Meet him, and follow him about;
We spend the day together, he
Goes to bed early; as for me,
I make the moon my mistress, prove
Constant to my inconstant love.
For she is coy with me, will hie
To my arms amorously, and fly
Ere I have kissed her; ah! but she,
She it is, to eternity,
I adore only; and her smile
Bewilders the enchanted isle
To more celestial magic, glows
At once the crystal and the rose.
The crazy lover of the moon,
I hold her, on the still lagoon,
Sometimes I hold her in my arms;
'Tis her cold silver kiss that warms
My blood to singing, and puts fire
Into the heart of my desire.
And all desire in Venice dies
To such diviner lunacies.
Life dreams itself: the world goes on,
Oblivious, in oblivion;
Life dreams itself, contents to keep
Happy immortality, in sleep.
To A Gitana Dancing
Because you are fair as souls of the lost are fair,
And your eyelids laugh with desire, and your laughing feet
Are winged with desire, and your hands are wanton, and sweet
Is the promise of love in your lips, and the rose in your hair
Sweet, unfaded, a promise sweet to be sought,
And the maze you tread is as old as the world is old,
Therefore you hold me, body and soul, in your hold,
And time, as you dance, is not, and the world is as nought.
You dance, and I know the desire of all flesh, and the pain
Of all longing of body for body; you beckon, repel,
Entreat, and entice, and bewilder, and build up the spell,
Link by link, with deliberate steps, of a flower-soft chain.
You laugh, and I know the despair, and you smile, and I know
The delight of your love, and the flower in your hair is a star.
It brightens, I follow; it fades, and I see it afar;
You pause: I awake; have I dreamt? was it longer ago
Than a dream that I saw you smile? for you turn, you turn,
As a startled beast in the toils: it is you that entreat,
Desperate, hating the coils that have fastened your feet,
The desire you desired that has come; and your lips now yearn,
And your hands now ache, and your feet faint for love.
Longing has taken hold even on you,
You, the witch of desire; and you pause, and anew
Your stillness moves, and you pause, and your hands move.
Time, as you dance, is as nought, and the moments seem
Swift as eternity; time is at end, for you close
Eyes and lips and hands in sudden repose;
You smile: was it all no longer ago than a dream?
To One In Allienation
Last night I saw you decked to meet
The coming of those most reluctant feet:
The little bonnet that you wear
When you would fain, for his sake, be more fair;
The primrose ribbons that so grace
The perfect pallor of your face;
The dark gown folded back about the throat,
And folds of lacework that denote
All that beneath them, just beneath them, lies:
God, for his eyes!
So the man came and took you; and we lay
So near and yet so far away,
You in his arms, awake for joy, and I
Awake for very misery,
Cursing a sleepless brain that would but scrawl
Your image on the aching wall,
That would but pang me with the sense
Of that most sweet accursed violence
Of lovers' hands that weary to caress
(Those hands!) your unforbidden loveliness.
And with the dawn that vision came again
To an unrested and recurrent brain:
To think your body, warm and white,
Lay in his arms all night;
That it was given him to surprise,
With those unhallowed eyes,
The secrets of your beauty, hid from me,
That I may never (may I never?) see:
I who adore you, he who finds in you
(Poor child!) a half-forgotten point of view.
As I lay on the stranger's bed,
And clasped the stranger-woman I had hired,
Desiring only memory dead
Of all that I had once desired;
It was then that I wholly knew
How dearly I had loved you, my lost friend;
While I am I, and you are you,
How I must love you to the end.
For I lay in her arms awake,
Awake and cursing the indifferent night,
That ebbed so slowly, for your sake,
My heart's desire, my soul's delight;
For I lay in her arms awake,
Awake in such a solitude of shame,
That when I kissed her, for your sake,
My lips were sobbing on your name.
Beautiful demon, O veil those eyes of fire,
Cover your breasts that are whiter than milk, and ruddy
With dewy buds of the magical rose, your body,
Veil your lips from the shining of my desire!
As a rose growing up from hell you waver before me,
Shaking an odorous breath that is fire within;
The Lord Christ may not pardon me this sweet sin,
But the scent of the rose that is rooted in hell steals o'er me.
O Lord Christ, I am lost, I am lost, I am lost!
Her eyes are as stars in a pool and their spell is on me;
She lifts her unsearchable lids, chill fire is upon me,
It shudders through every vein, and my brain is tossed
As the leaves of a tree when the wind coils under and over;
She smiles, and I hear the heart beat in my side;
She lifts her hands, and I swirl in a clutching tide;
But shall my soul not burn in flame if I love her?
She shall veil those eyes, those lips, ah! that breast.
Demon seeking my soul, I do adjure thee,
In the name of him for whose tempted sake I endure thee,
Trouble my sight no more: lost soul, be at rest!
She smiles, and the air grows into a mist of spices,
Frankincense, cinnamon, labdanum, and myrrh
Rise in sweet smoke about the feet of her
Before whom the sweets of the world are as sacrifices.
Cinnamon, frankincense, labdanum, and myrrh
Smoke in the air, the fume of them closes round me;
Help, ere the waves of the flood of odours have drowned me,
Help, ere it be too late! There has no help come,
And I feel that the rose of the pit begins to blossom
Into the likeness of a lost soul on fire,
And the soul that was mine is emptied of all but desire
Of the rose of her lips and the rose of her bosom.
Ah! she smiles the great smile, the immortal shame:
Her mouth to my mouth, though hell be the price hereafter!...
I hear in the whirling winds her windy laughter,
And my soul for this shall whirl in the winds of flame.
The mirror of men's eyes delights me less,
O mirror, than the friend I find in thee;
Thou lovest, as I love, my loveliness,
Thou givest my beauty back to me.
I to myself suffice; why should I tire
The heart with roaming that would rest at home?
Myself the limit to my own desire,
I have no desire to roam.
I hear the maidens crying in the hills:
'Come up among the bleak and perilous ways,
Come up and follow after Love, who fills
The hollows of our nights and days;
'Love the deliverer, who is desolate,
And saves from desolation; the divine
Out of great suffering; Love, compassionate,
Who is thy bread and wine,
'O soul, that faints in following after him.'
I hear; but what is Love that I should tread
Hard ways among the perilous passes dim,
Who need no succouring wine and bread?
Enough it is to dream, enough to abide
Here where the loud world's echoes fall remote,
Untroubled, unawakened, satisfied;
As water-lilies float
Lonely upon a shadow-sheltered pool,
Dreaming of their own whiteness; even so,
I dwell within a nest of shadows cool,
And watch the vague hours come and go.
They come and go, but I my own delight
Remain, and I desire no change in aught:
Might I escape indifferent Time's despite,
That ruins all he wrought!
This dainty body formed so curiously,
So delicately and wonderfully made,
Mine own, that none hath ever shared with me,
Mine own, and for myself arrayed;
All this that I have loved and not another,
My one desire's delight, this, shall Time bring
Where Beauty hath the abhorred worm for brother,
The dust for covering?
At least I bear it virgin to the grave,
Pure, and apart, and rare, and casketed;
What, living, was mine own and no man's slave,
Shall be mine own when I am dead.
But thou, my friend, my mirror, dost possess
The shadow of myself that smiles in thee,
And thou dost give, with thine own loveliness,
My beauty back to me.
The Old Women
They pass upon their old, tremulous feet,
Creeping with little satchels down the street,
And they remember, many years ago,
Passing that way in silks. They wander, slow
And solitary, through the city ways,
And they alone remember those old days
Men have forgotten. In their shaking heads
A dancer of old carnivals yet treads
The measure of past waltzes, and they see
The candles lit again, the patchouli
Sweeten the air, and the warm cloud of musk
Enchant the passing of the passionate dusk.
Then you will see a light begin to creep
Under the earthen eyelids, dimmed with sleep,
And a new tremor, happy and uncouth,
Jerking about the corners of the mouth.
Then the old head drops down again, and shakes,
Sometimes, when the swift gaslight wakes
The dreams and fever of the sleepless town,
A shaking huddled thing in a black gown
Will steal at midnight, carrying with her
Violet bags of lavender,
Into the taproom full of noisy light;
Or, at the crowded earlier hour of night,
Sidle, with matches, up to some who stand
About a stage-door, and, with furtive hand,
Appealing: "I too was a dancer, when
Your fathers would have been young gentlemen!"
And sometimes, out of some lean ancient throat,
A broken voice, with here and there a note
Of unspoiled crystal, suddenly will arise
Into the night, while a cracked fiddle cries
Pantingly after; and you know she sings
The passing of light, famous, passing things.
And sometimes, in the hours past midnight, reels
Out of an alley upon staggering heels,
Or into the dark keeping of the stones
About a doorway, a vague thing of bones
And draggled hair.
And all these have been loved.
And not one ruinous body has not moved
The heart of man's desire, nor has not seemed
Immortal in the eyes of one who dreamed
The dream that men call love. This is the end
Of much fair flesh; it is for this you tend
Your delicate bodies many careful years,
To be this thing of laughter and of tears,
To be this living judgment of the dead,
An old gray woman with a shaking head.
Variations Upon Love
For God's sake, let me love you, and give over
These tedious protestations of a lover;
We're of one mind to love, and there's no let:
Remember that, and all the rest forget.
And let's be happy, mistress, while we may,
Ere yet to-morrow shall be called to-day.
To-morrow may be heedless, idle-hearted:
One night's enough for love to have met and parted.
Then be it now, and I'll not say that I
In many several deaths for you would die;
And I'll not ask you to declare that you
Will longer love than women mostly do.
Leave words to them whom words, not doings, move,
And let our silence answer for our love.
Oh, woman! I am jealous of the eyes
That look upon you; all my looks are spies
That do but lurk and follow you about,
Restless to find some guilty secret out.
I am unhappy if I see you not,
Unhappy if I see you; tell me what
That smile betokens? what close thing is hid
Beneath the half-way lifting of a lid?
Who is it, tell me, I so dread to meet,
Just as we turn the corner of the street?
Daily I search your baffling eyes to see
Who knows what new admitted company?
And, sick with dread to find the thing I seek,
I tremble at the name you do not speak.
I know your lips are bought like any fruit;
I know your love, and of your love the root;
I know your kisses toll for love that dies
In kissing, to be buried in your eyes;
I know I am degraded for your sake,
And that my shame will not so much as make
Your glory, or be reckoned in the debt
Of memories you are mindful to forget.
All this I know, and, knowing it, I come
Delighted to my daily martyrdom;
And, rich in love beyond the common store,
Become for you a beggar, to implore
The broken crumbs that from your table fall,
Freely, in your indifference, on all.
I loved her; and you say she loved me not.
Well, if I loved her? And if she forgot,
Well, I have not forgotten even yet:
Time, and spent tears, may teach me to forget.
And so she loves another, and did then
When she was heaven and earth to me, and when,
Truly, she made me happy. It may be:
I only know how good she was to me.
Friend, to have loved, to have been made happy thus,
What better fate has life in store for us,
The dream of life from which we have to wake,
Happier, why not? why not for a dream's sake?
To have been loved is well, and well enough
For any man: but 'tis enough to love.