Out of Eden.

Again the summer comes, and all is fair ;1
A sea of tender blue, the sky o’erhead2
Stretches its peace ;  the roses, white and red,3
Through the deep silence of the trancéd air,4
In a mute ecstasy of love declare5
Their souls in perfume, while their leaves are fed6
With dew and moonlight that fall softly shed7
Like slumber on pure eyelids unaware.8
O wasted affluence of scent and light !9
Each gust of fragrance smites me tauntingly ;10
Yon placid stars have rankling shafts for me ;11
My great despair, by its own fatal might,12
Converts to pain the loveliness of night.13
Ah, would I could from all this beauty flee,14
And, ’neath some gray sky on a cheerless sea,15
Let drift a life that cannot end aright.16
Vain flower of fame from which is gone the scent,17
Vain crown no longer glorious in mine eyes,18
Vain hopes at which, years back, my joy would rise19
Like melody within an instrument20
When skilled hands touch the strings. All now is spent,21
And what is gained ?  Lo, I have gained my prize,22
And here neglected at my feet it lies ;23
It meant so much :  I now ask what it meant.24
For thee, lost love, I shall not see again ;25
The pale sad beauty of thy tender face,26
Once lamp and light of this now starless place,27
Comes to me in my dreams, and I am fain28
To hold thee in my arms, and so retain29
Thy phantom form in one long wild embrace ;30
A flush illumes the features of dead days,31
But fades before the lights in heaven wane.32
I am as one who, in a festive hall33
Ablaze with glow of flowers and cresset fires,34
Hears from a hundred joy-begetting lyres35
A storm of music roll from wall to wall,36
Yet feels no joy upon his spirit fall,37
For all the while his wandering heart desires38
One small sweet waif of sound those pealing quires39
May scorn—may drown, but never can recall.40
Yea, seem I like that fabled king of old41
Who gained his wish, and woke one morn—and, lo !42
With gold his bed and chamber were aglow,43
And when his glad arms did his child enfold,44
He clasped but to his heart a form of gold45
Gold roses in her breast, no more of snow,46
Gold hair upon her gold and polished brow,47
Hard, bright the hands of which his hands took hold ?48
But from her golden trance he saw her wake,49
Saw life and bloom return to all the flowers50
Green grew again and fresh the wind-stirred bowers,51
And from its golden frost was freed the lake ;52
But, though I drain my heart for my love’s sake,53
She will not come to make my waste of hours54
Fruitful as earth beneath warm sun and showers,55
Nor quick with scent my scentless roses make.56
Dear soul, to-night our wedding-night had been,57
And death has come to you and fame to me ;58
The summer’s breath makes music in the tree,59
Its kiss with over-love has charred the green,60
Through quivering boughs I catch night’s starry sheen,61
A sense of unborn music seems to be62
In air and moonlight falling tenderly,63
And yet I draw no sweetness from the scene.64
O love, sweet love, my first, my only love,65
How can I find the flowering meadows sweet66
That no more feel the kisses of your feet !67
O silent heart that grief no more can move,68
O loved and loving lips, whereto mine clove69
Till hope, long stanch, with thy heart’s muffled beat70
Furled his lorn flag and made his last retreat,71
And all was void below, and dark above.72
Pale form, they should have clothed thee like a bride,73
Have twined a bridal chaplet round thy head,74
And decked thy cold grave as a marriage-bed ;75
For, though the envious darkness do thee hide,76
I still shall find thee, sweet, and by thy side77
Lie peaceful down while hands and lips shall wed,78
And winds, attuned to lays of love we said,79
Float o’er the stillness where we twain abide.80
But now the gulf between us, love, is deep ;81
I labour yet a little in the fight,82
And bear the outrage of the joyous light,83
I toil by day and in the night I sleep,84
And then my heart gets ease, for I can weep ;85
But you in starless, songless depths of night,86
With dreamless slumber shed upon your sight,87
Rest where none need to sow, or care to reap.88