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A STUDY FROM THE ANTIQUE.
Behold, my love, the curious gem
Within this simple ring of gold ; 'Tis hallowed by the touch of them
Who lived in classic hours of old.
Some fair Athenian girl, perhaps,
Upon her hand this gem display'd, Nor thought that time's succeeding lapse
Should see it grace a lovelier maid.
Thou seest, it is a simple youth
By some enamoured nymph embraced Look, as she leans, and say in sooth,
Is not that hard most fondly placed ?
Upon his curled head behind
It seems in careless play to lie, Yet presses gently, half inclin'd
To bring the truant's cheek more nigh.
So may we try the graceful way
In which their gentle arms are twin'd And thus, like her, my hand I lay
Upon thy wreathed locks behind:
And thus I feel thee breathing sweet,
As slow to mine thy head I move; And thus our lips together meet,
And thus I kiss thee, O my love.
Between the sunset and the sea
My love laid hands and lips on me;
Of sweet came sour, of day came night,
Of long desire came brief delight:
Ah, love, and what thing came of thee
Between the sea-downs and the sea ?
Between the sea-mark and the sea
Joy grew to grief, grief grew to me;
Love turned to tears and tears to fire,
And dead delight to new desire;
Love's talk, love's touch there seemed to be
Between the sea-sand and the sea.
Between the sun-down and the sea
Love watched one hour of love with me;
Then down the all-golden water-ways
His feet flew after yesterday's;
I saw them come and saw them flee
Between the sea-foam and the sea.
Between the sea-strand and the sea
Love fell on sleep, sleep fell on me;
The first star saw twain turn to one
Between the moonrise and the sun;
The next, that saw not love, saw me
Between the sea-banks and the sea.
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion :
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle-
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another ;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother:
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea-
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?
I love thee, I love thee; in vain I endeavour
To fly from thine image; it haunts me for ever.
All things that rejoiced me, now weary and pall;
I feel in thine absence bereft of mine all.
My heart is the dial, thy looks are the sun;
I count but the moments thou shinest upon.
O royal, believe me, it is to controul
Two mighty dominions the Heart and the Soul.
To know that thy whisper each pang can beguile;
And feel that creation is lit by thy smile.
Yet every dominion needs care to retain-
Dost thou know when thou pain'st me or smile at the pain ?
Alas ! the heart sickens, the doubt and the dread,
When some word that we pine for, cold lips have not said !
When no pulses respond to the feelings we prove;
And we tremble to question ‘if this can be love :'
At moments comparing thy heart with mine own,
I mourn not my bondage, I sigh for thy throne.
For if thou forsake me, too well I divine
That no love could defend thee from sorrow like mine.
And this, O ungrateful, I most should deplore
That the heart thou hadst broken could shield thee no more!
When the lamp is shatter'd
The light in the dust lies dead
When the cloud is scatter'd,
The rainbow's glory is shed.
When the lute is broken,
Sweet tones are remember'd not;
When the lips have spoken,
Loved accents are soon forgot.
As music and splendour
Survive not the lamp and the lute,
The heart's echoes render
song when the spirit is mute-
but sad dirges,
Like the wind through a ruin'd cell,
Or the mournful surges
That ring the dead seaman's knell.
When hearts have once mingled,
Love first leaves the well-built nest;
The weak one is singled
To endure what it once possest.
O love! who bewailest
The frailty of all things here,
Why choose you the frailest
For your cradle, your home and your bier.
Its passions will rock thee
As the storms rock the ravens on high;
Bright reason will mock thee
Like the sun from a wintry sky.
From thy nest every rafter
Will rot, and thine eagle home
Leave thee naked to laughter,
When leaves fall and cold winds come.