Love me. I care not what the circling years
To me may do.
If, but in spite of time and tears,
You prove but true.
Love me — albeit grief shall dim mine eyes,
And tears bedew,
I shall not e’en complain, for then my skies
Shall still be blue.
Love me, and though the winter snow shall pile,
And leave me chill,
Thy passion’s warmth shall make for me, meanwhile,
A sun-kissed hill.
And when the days have lengthened into years,
And I grow old,
Oh, spite of pains and griefs and cares and fears,
Grow thou not cold.
Then hand and hand we shall pass up the hill,
I say not down;
That twain go up, of love, who’ve loved their fill, —
To gain love’s crown.
Love me, and let my life take up thine own,
As sun the dew.
Come, sit, my queen, for in my heart a throne
Awaits for you!
I am the mother of sorrows,
I am the ender of grief;
I am the bud and the blossom,
I am the late-falling leaf.
I am thy priest and thy poet,
I am thy serf and thy king;
I cure the tears of the heartsick,
When I come near they shall sing.
White are my hands as the snowdrop;
Swart are my fingers as clay;
Dark is my frown as the midnight,
Fair is my brow as the day.
Battle and war are my minions,
Doing my will as divine;
I am the calmer of passions,
Peace is a nursling of mine.
Speak to me gently or curse me,
Seek me or fly from my sight;
I am thy fool in the morning,
Thou art my slave in the night.
Down to the grave will I take thee,
Out from the noise of the strife;
Then shalt thou see me and know me —
Death, then, no longer, but life.
Then shalt thou sing at my coming.
Kiss me with passionate breath,
Clasp me and smile to have thought me
Aught save the foeman of Death.
Come to me, brother, when weary,
Come when thy lonely heart swells;
I’ll guide thy footsteps and lead thee
Down where the Dream Woman dwells.
Over the hills and the valleys of dreaming
Slowly I take my way.
Life is the night with its dream-visions teeming,
Death is the waking at day.
Down thro’ the dales and the bowers of loving,
Singing, I roam afar.
Daytime or night-time, I constantly roving, —
Dearest one, thou art my star.
Night is for sorrow and dawn is for joy,
Chasing the troubles that fret and annoy;
Darkness for sighing and daylight for song, —
Cheery and chaste the strain, heartfelt and strong.
All the night through, though I moan in the dark,
I wake in the morning to sing with the lark.
Deep in the midnight the rain whips the leaves,
Softly and sadly the wood-spirit grieves.
But when the first hue of dawn tints the sky,
I shall shake out my wings like the birds and be dry;
And though, like the rain-drops, I grieved through the dark,
I shall wake in the morning to sing with the lark.
On the high hills of heaven, some morning to be,
Where the rain shall not grieve thro’ the leaves of the tree,
There my heart will be glad for the pain I have known,
For my hand will be clasped in the hand of mine own;
And though life has been hard and death’s pathway been dark,
I shall wake in the morning to sing with the lark.
Oh, summer has clothed the earth
In a cloak from the loom of the sun!
And a mantle, too, of the skies’ soft blue,
And a belt where the rivers run.
And now for the kiss of the wind,
And the touch of the air’s soft hands,
With the rest from strife and the heat of life,
With the freedom of lakes and lands.
I envy the farmer’s boy
Who sings as he follows the plow;
While the shining green of the young blades lean
To the breezes that cool his brow.
He sings to the dewy morn,
No thought of another’s ear;
But the song he sings is a chant for kings
And the whole wide world to hear.
He sings of the joys of life,
Of the pleasures of work and rest,
From an o’erfull heart, without aim or art;
’T is a song of the merriest.
O ye who toil in the town,
And ye who moil in the mart,
Hear the artless song, and your faith made strong
Shall renew your joy of heart.
Oh, poor were the worth of the world
If never a song were heard, —
If the sting of grief had no relief,
And never a heart were stirred.
So, long as the streams run down,
And as long as the robins trill,
Let us taunt old Care with a merry air,
And sing in the face of ill.
The smell of the sea in my nostrils,
The sound of the sea in mine ears;
The touch of the spray on my burning face,
Like the mist of reluctant tears.
The blue of the sky above me,
The green of the waves beneath;
The sun flashing down on a gray-white sail
Like a scimitar from its sheath.
And ever the breaking billows,
And ever the rocks’ disdain;
And ever a thrill in mine inmost heart
That my reason cannot explain.
So I say to my heart, “Be silent,
The mystery of time is here;
Death’s way will be plain when we fathom the main,
And the secret of life be clear.”
Oh for the breath of the briny deep,
And the tug of the bellying sail,
With the sea-gull’s cry across the sky
And a passing boatman’s hail.
For, be she fierce or be she gay,
The sea is a famous friend alway.
Ho! for the plains where the dolphins play,
And the bend of the mast and spars,
And a fight at night with the wild sea-sprite
When the foam has drowned the stars.
And, pray, what joy can the landsman feel
Like the rise and fall of a sliding keel?
Fair is the mead; the lawn is fair
And the birds sing sweet on the lea;
But the echo soft of a song aloft
Is the strain that pleases me;
And swish of rope and ring of chain
Are music to men who sail the main.
Then, if you love me, let me sail
While a vessel dares the deep;
For the ship’s my wife, and the breath of life
Are the raging gales that sweep;
And when I’m done with calm and blast,
A slide o’er the side, and rest at last.
Bring me the livery of no other man.
I am my own to robe me at my pleasure.
Accepted rules to me disclose no treasure:
What is the chief who shall my garments plan?
No garb conventional but I’ll attack it.
(Come, why not don my spangled jacket?)
Good-night, my love, for I have dreamed of thee
In waking dreams, until my soul is lost —
Is lost in passion’s wide and shoreless sea,
Where, like a ship, unruddered, it is tost
Hither and thither at the wild waves’ will.
There is no potent Master’s voice to still
This newer, more tempestuous Galilee!
The stormy petrels of my fancy fly
In warning course across the darkening green,
And, like a frightened bird, my heart doth cry
And seek to find some rock of rest between
The threatening sky and the relentless wave.
It is not length of life that grief doth crave,
But only calm and peace in which to die.
Here let me rest upon this single hope,
For oh, my wings are weary of the wind,
And with its stress no more may strive or cope.
One cry has dulled mine ears, mine eyes are blind, —
Would that o’er all the intervening space,
I might fly forth and see thee face to face.
I fly; I search, but, love, in gloom I grope.
Fly home, far bird, unto thy waiting nest;
Spread thy strong wings above the wind-swept sea.
Beat the grim breeze with thy unruffled breast
Until thou sittest wing to wing with me.
Then, let the past bring up its tales of wrong;
We shall chant low our sweet connubial song,
Till storm and doubt and past no more shall be!