Love In The Summer Hills

Love in the summer hills,
With youth to mock at ills,
And kisses sweet to cheat
Our idle tears away.
What else has Time in store,
Till Life shall close the door?
Still let me sing love's lore,
Come sorrow when it may.

Rain on the weeping hills,
With Death to end our ills,
And only thought unsought
To point our joys' decay.
Oh Life is wounded sore
And Grief's mad waters roar.
Yet will I love once more
To--day as yesterday.

Oh For A Day Of Spring

Oh for a day of Spring,
A day of flowers and folly,
Of birds that pipe and sing
And boyhood's melancholy!
I would not grudge the laughter,
The tears that followed after.

Oh for a day of youth,
A day of strength and passion,
Of words that told the truth
And deeds the truth would fashion!
I would not leave untasted
One glory while it lasted.

Oh for a day of days,
A day with you and pleasure,
Of love in all its ways
And life in all its measure!
Win me that day from sorrow,
And let me die to--morrow.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xxv

Give me thy kiss, Juliet, give me thy kiss!
I with my body worship thee and vow
Such service to thy needs as man can do.
I ask no nobler servitude than this.
Am I not thine, the bondsman of thy love,
Whom thou hast bought and ransomed with a price,
And therefore worthy to be ranked above
The very stars that in the heavens move?
And, Juliet, since I thus am one with you,
And kinglier than Plantagenet or Guelph,
What price were meet for my high mightiness?
What gold of joy, what hope, what heavenly pelf
Hast thou to give? Nay, sweetest, give thyself.

Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Xxvi

I linger on the threshold of my youth.
If you could see me now as then I was,
A fair--faced frightened boy with eyes of truth
Scared at the world yet angry at its laws,
Plotting all plots, a blushing Cataline
Betrayed by his own cheeks, a misanthrope
In love with all things human and divine,
The very fool of fortune and high hope,
You would deny you knew me. Oh, the days
Of our absurd first manhood, rich in force,
Rich in desire of happiness and praise
Yet impotent in its heroic course,
And all for lack of that one worthless thing,
Knowledge of life and love and suffering!

I had ambition once. Like Solomon
I asked for wisdom, deeming wisdom fair,
And with much pains a little knowledge won
Of Nature's cruelty and Man's despair,
And mostly learned how vain such learnings were.
Then in my grief I turned to happiness,
And woman's love awhile was all my care,
And I achieved some sorrow and some bliss,
Till love rebelled. Then the mad lust of power
Became my dream, to rule my fellow--men;
And I too lorded it my little hour,
And wrought for weal or woe with sword and pen,
And wounded many, some, alas, my friends.
Now I ask silence. My ambition ends.

Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Lviii

It might not be. Some things are possible,
And some impossible for even God.
And Esther had no soul which Heaven or Hell
Could touch by joy or soften by the rod.
She could not really love me. The day came,
How soon, how late, I need not to devise,
When passion prayed its last, and only shame
Stood for my portion in a world grown wise,
And I went forth for ever from her sight
Knowing the good and evil. On that day
I did her wrong by anger. Now life's light
Illumines all, and I behold her gay
As I first knew her in my love purblind,
Dear passionate Esther, soulless but how kind!

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xxiii

Give me thy heart, Juliet, give me thy heart!
I have a need of it, an absolute need,
Because my own heart has thus long been dead.
I live but by thy life. The very smart
Of this new pain which has been born of thee
Is thine, thy own great pleasure's counterpart.
I stand before thee naked. Clothe thou me.
Bring out a robe,--thy truth, thy chastity.
Put rings upon my fingers,--honour's meed.
For thou canst give, nor ever reck the cost,
Being the royal creature that thou art,
The fountain of all honour, whose high boast
Is to be greatest when thou givest most.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xxvi

Since thou hast given me these, Juliet, given me these,
There have been tidings told of a great joy,
Of peace on Earth, good--will without annoy.
Thou hast put on my soul's infirmities
And stooped to succour me, and thou hast trod
The way of sorrows with me, on thy knees,
Making thyself a little less than God,
That I might worship him in womanhood,
A new redemption. Therefore, Juliet,
The choirs of Heaven multitudinous
Make all their songs to thee this happy night,
In praise of thy great love incarnate thus,
A very ``word made flesh'' to dwell with us.

A New Pilgrimage: Sonnet Xxxvi

The majesty of Rome to me is nought;
The imperial story of her conquering car
Touches me only with compassionate thought
For the doomed nations faded by her star.
Her palaces of Caesars tombstones are
For a whole world of freedoms vainly caught
In her high fortune. Throned was she in war;
By war she perished. So is justice wrought.
A nobler Rome is here, which shall not die.
She rose from the dead ashes of men's lust,
And robed herself anew in chastity,
And half redeemed man's heritage of dust.
This Rome I fain would love, though darkly hid
In mists of passion and desires scarce dead.

I have seen many things in many lands,
And many sorrows known and many joys,
And clutched at pleasure's cup with lawless hands,
And drunk my fill of mirth and lust and noise,
Nor spared to make of human hearts my toys,
But fed with life the brute strength of my pride,
As with a tribute of fair living boys
The monstrous lord of Crete him satisfied.
--But of all pictures laid up in my soul
Are three most beautiful and passionate,
The illumined margin of an ancient scroll,
Which moraliseth pity, love and hate;
And these, when she is sad, she doth unroll
And on their common meaning meditate.

Natalia’s Resurrection: Sonnet Iii

Matron was she of a great Roman house,
And wed in youth to one she might not love;
Her birth, her fortune, her name luminous,
Such as all noblest virtues most behove.
How dare she trifle with ignoble things,
Or yield her fair fame to a stranger's care,
Or let her passionate desire take wings,
Or be of those unchastely debonnaire?
Yet with him she was well, and far from him
A bird shaft--stricken which no more may fly.
She deemed his smile as of the seraphim,
And in his frown she was one like to die.
For his dear sake 'twixt niggard hopes and fears
She lived in death for two long weary years.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxx

Why was I born in this degenerate age?
Or rather why, a thousand times, with soul
Of such degenerate stuff that a mute rage
Is all its reason, tears the only toll
It takes on life, and impotence its goal?
Why was I born to this sad heritage
Of fierce desires which cannot fate control,
Of idle hopes life never can assuage?
Why was I born thus weak?--Oh to have been
A merry fool, at jest with destiny;
A free hand ready and a heart as free;
A ruffler in the camps of Mazarin!
Oh for the honest soul of d'Artagnan,
Twice happy knave, a Gascon and a man!

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Xciv

A year ago I too was proud of May,
I too delighted in the blackbird's song.
When the sun shone my soul made holiday.
When the rain fell I felt it as a wrong.
Then for me too the world was fresh and young.
Oh what a miracle each bluebell was!
How my heart leaped in union with my tongue,
When first I lit upon a stag's horn moss!
--A year ago! Alas, one Summer's fire,
One autumn's chill, one Winter's discontent,
And now one Spring of joy and hope deferred
Have brought me to this pass of undesire
That I behold May's veil of beauty rent
And stand unmoved by sun and flower and bird.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part I: To Manon: Xxi

From this day forth I lead another life,
Another life! A life without a tear!
To--day has ended the unequal strife;
My service and my sorrow finish here.
See, my soul cuts her cable of belief
And sails towards the ocean. She shall steer
Sublime henceforth o'er accidents of grief.
Her storm has rolled to a new Hemisphere.
I have loved too much, too loyally, too long.
To--day I am a pirate of the sea.
Let others suffer. I have suffered wrong.
Let others love, and love as tenderly.
Oh, Manon, there are women yet unborn
Shall rue thy frailty, else am I forsworn.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: C

O Age, thou art the very thief of joy,
For thou hast rifled many a proud fool
Of all his passions, hoarded by a rule
Of stern economy. Him, yet a boy,
Harsh wisdom governed. Others turned to toy
With lusty passion. He was chaste and cool
As a young Dorian in Lycurgus' school.
Ah me, that thou such souls shouldst dare annoy.
Thus did he gather him a store of pleasure,
Nor cared to touch what he so hardly won,
But led long years of solitary strife;
And, when the rest should have consumed their treasure,
He thought to sit him in the evening sun
And taste the sweet fruits of a sober life.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Cvi

To stand upon a windy pinnacle,
Beneath the infinite blue of the blue noon,
And underfoot a valley terrible
As that dim gulf, where sense and being swoon
When the soul parts; a giant valley strewn
With giant rocks; asleep, and vast, and still,
And far away. The torrent, which has hewn
His pathway through the entrails of the hill,
Now crawls along the bottom and anon
Lifts up his voice, a muffled tremulous roar,
Borne on the wind an instant, and then gone
Back to the caverns of the middle air;
A voice as of a nation overthrown
With beat of drums, when hosts have marched to war.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Ci

But thou didst come upon him ere he wist,
A silent highwayman, and take his all
And leave him naked, when the night should fall
And all the road was conjured in a mist.
Too well thou keepedst thy unholy tryst,
As long ago that eastern seneschal
Rode all day long to meet at evenfall
Him he had fled ere yet the sun uprist.
--But I have spent me like a prodigal
The treasure of my youth, and, long ago,
Have eaten husks among the hungry swine,
And when I meet thee I will straightway fall
Upon thy neck, and if the tears shall flow,
They shall be tears of love for thee and thine.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xxxii

Why do we fret at the inconstancy
Of our frail hearts, which cannot always love?
Time rushes onward, and we mortals move
Like waifs upon a river, neither free
To halt nor hurry. Sweet, if destiny
Throws us together for an hour, a day,
In the back--water of this quiet bay,
Let us rejoice. Before us lies the sea,
Where we must all be lost in spite of love.
We dare not stop to question. Happiness
Lies in our hand unsought, a treasure trove.
Time has short patience of man's vain distress;
And fate grows angry at too long delay;
And floods rise fast, and we are swept away.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xliii

I do not love you. To have said this once
Had seemed to both of us a monstrous lie,
An idle boast, love's last extravagance
Or the mere paradox of vanity.
Now it is true and yet more hideously
More strangely monstrous. I, no less than you,
Here own at length the worm which cannot die,
The burden of a pain for ever new.
This is the ``pang of loss,'' the bitterest
Which Hell can give. We are shut out from Heaven
And never more shall look upon Love's face,
Being with those who perish unforgiven.
Never to see Love's face! Ah, pain in pain,
Which we do well to weep and weep again!

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xxxix

Juliet, farewell. I would not be forgiven
Even if I forgave. These words must be
The last between us two in Earth or Heaven,
The last and bitterest. You are henceforth free
For ever from my bitter words and me.
You shall not at my hand be further vexed
With either love, reproach or jealousy
(So help me Heaven), in this world or the next.
Our souls are single for all time to come
And for eternity, and this farewell
Is as the trumpet note, the crack of doom,
Which heralds an eternal silence. Hell
Has no more fixed and absolute decree.
And Heaven and Hell may meet,--yet never we.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part I: To Manon: Ix

This is rank slavery. It better were
To till the thankless earth with sweat of brow,
Following dull oxen 'neath a goad of care
To a boor's grave agape behind the plough.
It better were to linger in some slow
Unnatural case, the sport of flood or fire,
To be undone by some inhuman vow
And robbed in youth of youth and its desire.
It better were to perish than thus live
Thy pensioner and bondsman, day by day
Doing fool's service thus for love of thee.
How shall I save thee if thou wilt not grieve
Even for shames like these? How shall I slay
The foes thou lovest, thou, their enemy?

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xxiv

Give me thy soul, Juliet, give me thy soul!
I am a bitter sea, which drinketh in
The sweetness of all waters, and so thine.
Thou, like a river, pure and swift and full
And freighted with the wealth of many lands,
With hopes, and fears, and death and life, dost roll
Against the troubled ocean of my sin.
Thou doubtest not, though on these desert sands
The billows surge against thee black with brine,
Unwearied. For thy love is fixed and even
And bears thee onward, and thy faith is whole.
Though thou thyself shouldst sin, yet surely Heaven
Hath held thee guiltless and thou art forgiven.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part I: To Manon: Xii

Reading these lines, this record of lost days
Where I am not, and yet where love has been,
This tale of passions consecrate to men
Other than me, unwitting of my ways,
I seem to hear some pagan chaunt of praise
Hymned to an idol shrine in gardens green,
Some wild soft worship of a god obscene,
Some idle homage to an idol face.
I shut my ears, yet hear it still. My eyes
See not, yet see the unchaste the unlawful fire;
I scent the odour of the sacrifice,
And feel the victim's shriek. Then in my ire
I rise up, as on Horeb, and I cry,
``There is none other god, but only I!''

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Liii

Farewell, then. It is finished. I forgo
With this all right in you, even that of tears.
If I have spoken hardly, it will show
How much I loved you. With you disappears
A glory, a romance of many years.
What you may be henceforth I will not know.
The phantom of your presence on my fears
Is impotent at length for weal or woe.
Your past, your present, all alike must fade
In a new land of dreams where love is not.
Then kiss me and farewell. The choice is made
And we shall live to see the past forgot,
If not forgiven. See, I came to curse,
Yet stay to bless. I know not which is worse.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xxix

I did not ask your pity, dear. Your zeal
I know. It cannot cure me of my woes.
And you, in your sweet happiness, who knows,
Deserve it rather I should pity feel
For what the coming years from you conceal.
I did but cry, thou dear Samaritan,
Out of my bitterness of soul. Each man
Has his own sorrow treading on his heel,
Ready to strike him, and must keep his shield
To his own back. Fate's arrows thickly fly,
And, if they strike not now, will strike at even.
And so I ask no pity. On life's field
The wounded crawl together, but their cry
Is not to one another but to Heaven.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xl

'Tis strange we are thus parted, not by death
Or man's device, but by our own mad will,
We who have stood together on life's path
Through half a youth of good repute and ill,
Friends more than lovers. See, Love's citadel
We held so stoutly 'gainst a world in arms
Lies all dismantled now, a sight to fill
The Earth with lamentations and alarms.
Whose was the fault? I dare not ask nor say.
If there was treachery, 'tis best untold.
The price of treason we receive to--day
Is paid to both of us in evil gold.
Ay, take thy bitter freedom. 'Tis the fee
Of love betrayed and faith's apostasy.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxxxii

I am tired of folly, tired of my own ways,
Love is a strife. I do not want to strive.
If I had foes I now would make my peace.
If I less wedded were I now would wive.
I would do service to my kind, contrive
Something of good for men, some happiness
For those who in the world still love and live,
And, as my fathers did, so end my days.
I would earn praise, I too, of honest men.
I would repent in sackcloth if needs be.
I would serve God and expiate my sin,
Abjuring love and thee--ay, even thee.
I would do this, dear love. But what am I
To will or do? As we have lived we die.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxiv

In my distress Love made me sign a bond,
A cruel bond. 'Twas by necessity
Wrung from a foolish heart, alas, too fond,
Too blindly fond, its error to foresee.
And now my soul's estate, in jeopardy,
Lies to a pledge it never can redeem.
Love's loan was love, one hour of ecstasy,
His penalty eternal loss of him.
--See, I am penniless, the forfeit paid,
And go a beggar forth from thy dear sight,
My pound of more than flesh too strictly weighed
And cut too near the heart. Fair Israelite,
Thy plea was just. Thy right has been confessed.
And yet a work of mercy were twice blessed.

The Pleasures Of Love

I do not care for kisses. 'Tis a debt
We paid for the first privilege of love.
These are the rains of April which have wet
Our fallow hearts and forced their germs to move.
Now the green corn has sprouted. Each new day
Brings better pleasures, a more dear surprise,
The blade, the ear, the harvest--and our way
Leads through a region wealthy grown and wise.
We now compare our fortunes. Each his store
Displays to kindred eyes of garnered grain,
Two happy farmers, learned in love's lore,
Who weigh and touch and argue and complain--
Dear endless argument! Yet sometimes we
Even as we argue kiss. There! Let it be.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Lii

Lame, impotent conclusion to youth's dreams
Vast as all heaven! See, what glory lies
Entangled here in these base stratagems,
What virtue done to death! O glorious sighs,
Sublime beseechings, high cajoleries,
Fond wraths, brave ruptures, all that sometime was
Our daily bread of gods beneath the skies,
How are ye ended, in what utter loss!
Time was, time is, and time is yet to come,
Till even time itself shall have its end.
These were eternal. And behold, a tomb!
Come, let us laugh and eat and drink. God send
What all the world must need one day as we,
Speedy oblivion, rest for memory.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Cxi

Children of Shem! Firstborn of Noah's race,
But still forever children; at the door
Of Eden found, unconscious of disgrace,
And loitering on while all are gone before;
Too proud to dig; too careless to be poor;
Taking the gifts of God in thanklessness,
Not rendering aught, nor supplicating more,
Nor arguing with Him when He hides His face.
Yours is the rain and sunshine, and the way
Of an old wisdom by our world forgot,
The courage of a day which knew not death.
Well may we sons of Japhet in dismay
Pause in our vain mad fight for life and breath,
Beholding you. I bow and reason not.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Xcii

We sometimes sit in darkness. I long while
Have sat there, in a shadow as of death.
My friends and comforters no longer smile,
And they who grudge me wrongfully my breath
Are strong and many. I am bowed beneath
A weight of trouble and unjust reproach
From many fools and friends of little faith.
The world is little worth, yet troubles much.
But I am comforted in this, that I,
Although my face is darkened to men's eyes
And all my life eclipsed with angry wars,
Now see things hidden; and I seem to spy
New worlds above my heaven. Night is wise
And joy a sun which never guessed the stars.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lvi

As one who, in a desert wandering
Alone and faint beneath a pitiless sky,
And doubting in his heart if he shall bring
His bones back to his kindred or there die,
Finds at his feet a treasure suddenly
Such as would make him for all time a king,
And so forgets his fears and with keen eye
Falls to a--counting each new precious thing:
--So was I when you told me yesterday
The tale of your dear love. Awhile I stood
Astonished and enraptured, and my heart
Began to count its treasures. Now dismay
Steals back my joy, and terror chills my blood,
And I remember only ``We must part.''

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Xc

When I complained that I had lost my hope
Of life eternal with the eternal God;
When I refused to read my horoscope
In the unchanging stars, or claim abode
With powers and dominations, but, poor clod,
Clung to the earth and grovelled in my tears,
Because I soon must lie beneath the sod
And close the little number of my years,--
Then I was told that pride had barred the way,
And raised this foul rebellion in my head.
Yet, strange rebellion! I, but yesterday,
Was God's own son in His own likeness bred.
And thrice strange pride! who thus am cast away
And go forth lost and disinherited.

Dare all things for Love's sake, since love is best,
Of Fate ask nothing, rather by your deeds
Rebuke it for its niggard ways unblest,
And trust to Love to shield you in your needs.
Remember in the shade of the new years
Only what Love has given. This shall be
Daily your dole, a safeguard from your tears,
Outwitting change and Time's inconstancy.
--Knock loudly at Love's door. He is awake.
Offer him roses. 'Tis his month of June.
Watch all his ways. Do worship for his sake.
Seek out his service. He shall serve you soon.
Know this of Love, who fears not Fate's disaster
Answers for both and is of Time the master.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Cii

What art thou? Woman? Goddess? Aphrodite?
Yet never such as thou from the cold foam
Of ocean, nor from cloudy heaven might come,
Who wast begotten on her bridal night
In passionate Earth's womb by Man's delight,
When Man was young. I cannot trace in thee
Time's handiwork. Say, rather, where is he
For whom thy face was red which is so white?
Thou standest ravished, broken, and thy face
Is writ with ancient passions. Thou art dumb
To my new love. Yet, whatsoe'er of good,
Of crime, of pride, of passion, or of grace
In woman is, thou, woman, hast in sum.
Earth's archetypal Eve. All Womanhood.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Cvii

Clutching the brink with hands and feet and knees,
With trembling heart, and eyes grown strangely dim,
A part thyself and parcel of the frieze
Of that colossal temple raised to Time,
To gaze on horror, till, as in a crime,
Thou and the rocks become accomplices.
There is no voice, no life 'twixt thee and them.
No life! Yet, look, far down upon the breeze
Something has passed across the bosom bare
Of the red rocks, a leaf, a shape, a shade.
A living shadow! Ay, above thee there,
Weaving majestic circles overhead,
Others are watching.--This is the sublime
To be alone, with eagles in the air.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iv: Vita Nova: Lxxxvi

It is not true the dead unhonoured were
If they returned to life. Nay, claim thine own,
And see how gladly I, thy ``thankless heir,''
Will yield thee back possession of thy throne.
I am not so in love with riches grown
That such can comfort me. Alas, too long
The fields are furrowed and the wheat is sown
For my sole grief that these should do thee wrong.
I hold these things not wholly as in fee,
But thinking that perhaps some happy day
We yet may walk together, and devise
Of the old lands we loved, in Paradise,
And I shall give account, as best I may,
How I thy tenant was awhile for thee.

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xli

We may not meet. I could not for pride's sake
Dissemble further, and I suffer pain,
A palpable distinct and physical ache,
When our eyes meet by accident, and when
I hear you talk in your pathetic strain
Which always moved me. Only yesterday,
As I was standing with a crowd of men
In the long corridor, you came my way
And chanced to stop, and thus by chance I heard
A score of phrases uttered in that sad
Half--suppliant voice which once my spirit stirred
To its foundations. Yet your theme was glad--
Strangers your hearers. What was in these spells
To move me still? A trick, and nothing else!

The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Ii: To Juliet: Xlviii

I think there never was a dearer woman,
A better, kinder, truer than you were,
A gentler spirit more divinely human
Than yours with your sweet melancholy air
Of tender gaiety, which seemed like care,
And in your voice a sob as of distress
At the world's ways, its sin and its despair,
Being yourself all strange to wickedness.
Now you are neither gentle, kind, nor good,
And you have sorrows of your own to grieve,
And in your mirth compassion has no mood;
You wear no more your heart upon your sleeve,
And if your voice still sobs 'tis with a sense
Of sorrow's power, grief's wealth, experience.