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TO ONE I SHALL SEE NO MORE.
Come, let me look once more close in your eyes,
Come, let me feel the beating of your heart; Our time has ended; we must break the ties;
God knows I love you, but we two must part.
Nay, do not ask me why I turn away,
And why these words at parting seem so cold; Nay, precious, do not sigh and beg me stay;
Our dream must be a story left untold.
Ah, ere you came, the dead leaves hid my soul,
My heart was buried in a shroud of snow; Then, like the Spring across the waste you stole,
And made the birds sing and the blossoms blow.
How sweet you were, O precious, when you came
To let me know my soul had found its mate; My Autumn skies were flushed with vernal flame
And then I saw the warning face of Fate!
Come, clasp me once before I turn to go,
Heed not these tear-drops as I kiss your feet; How sweet my dreams were, you shall never know,
How blissful, blissful, yet how fleet, how fleet!
Nay, do not blame me, it is best-is best!
Forget me, though you take away my heart; There! see, I laugh, and turn it to a jest
God knows I love you, but we two must part.
Forever perished seems the age of gold,
With all the May-morn glory of the past; Where now the songs the minstrels sang of old,
A-thrill with fervor like a trumpet blast?
Ah, in those days Life sipped of morning dew
Fresh from the bosom of a springtime bud; Youth's pink-white feet on skylark pinions flew,
All April's ardor tingling through his blood.
Now is the sordid age of greed and gain:
Now bloated Mammon rules the market-place; The Poet, like the Painter, strives in vain,
O glorious doom, to share their Art's disgrace!
Ah, we are only struggling pioneers,
To blaze the path for others yet to be;
And found the temples we shall never see.
Some time that golden age again shall come,
The olden glory shine once more for men.
And who shall mourn us, who shall miss us then?
PREFACE TO A BOOK OF POEMS.
Far in the future, through the jealous haze,
We see the golden city reared to Art; We see its cloud-encircled turrets blaze,
As splendid as the sunset's burning heart.
That promised land our feet shall never tread,
Our hands shall never pluck its flowers and fruits; Our cheeks shall never flush from white to red
From passion-pealing of its lovers' lutes.
Yet in that purple age I wish one bard
To say of me these little words of praise: "He plodded on through sharpened flint and shard,
Though sordid cares pursued him all his days.
“In darkest hours he wrought with cheerful will:
He shared the exile of his precious Art; Though men denied applause, he labored still,
Nor wrote one line to please the vulgar mart.
So, like a priest who guards a temple's light,
He trimmed the lamp whose flame was nearly gone: · He kept his vow to watch it through the night,
And died beside it at the birth of dawn.”
We sigh because you passed away so young,
Forsaking us, who wander still below,
A-thrill with music Earth may never know.
But we, not you, deserve the piteous plaint,
The sob, the sigh, the wringing of the hands, Soul freed at last from every mortal taint,
Among the lilies of enchanted lands!
For us, the slowly creeping steps of age,
For you, the halcyon heart forever young; For us, the garment soiled, the blotted page,
For you, the glory of the songs unsung.
For us, the sad September's withered sheaves,
For you, the peach-blooms of an April day; For us, the numb November's hectic leaves,
For you, the verdure of the morns of May.
Best is that death when Life is in its Spring,
When morning skies are gowned in blue and gold, Before one bird has ever ceased to sing,
And not one forest leaf has yet grown old.
Ah, kindly Fate, forever thus to be,
When Love, the wild gazelle, treads not amiss, When pearly-footed Youth forbears to flee,
And dimpled Joy defers his farewell kiss!
For you, assassin Autumn never comes
To stab white-bosomed Summer to the heart, No winds of Winter beat their muffled drums
To bid the brilliant tropic birds depart.
You shall not see Hope's shattered roses strewn,
Nor golden locks flecked into frosty gray, Nor learn the disillusions of the noon,
Nor see at last Affection's dull decay.
For you no fairy story came untrue,
No Gospel seemed unworthy of belief; The peasant still will be king to you,
And every wisp of tares a golden sheaf.
Rest, calm and peaceful; you have naught to fear,
Who drove all hate and malice from your side, Nor gave one being cause to shed a tear,
Until that day, dear boy, on which you died.