I take, O poet mine, within my hand,
My hand that hath been empty over long,
I take from thee thy tender flower of song;
This deep, swift rapture--dare I understand?
Oh! turn thou not away
Thine eyes where no lights shine,
Till thou hast answered mine
Their eager question, is it aye and aye?
These passionate pink petals, fold on fold,
All tremulous--would they to me disclose
Their secret my quick heart divining knows,
The diamond dew of love in cup of gold?
Turn not thine eyes away,
Till mine have drank from thine
The draught that is divine,
And, satisfied, shall thirst no more for aye.
Until we met upon a foreign strand
My life was barren and my heart was old,
My skies were wintry and my days were cold,
And hopelessly afar lay summerland.
Oh! turn thou not away,
Till I can understand
The radiance that o'erspanned,
And brought the dawning of diviner day.
There draweth near the lonely eventide,
When lowlier fall the voices of the glad,
And sadder grow the souls that must be sad;
The sea of change outlieth dark and wide;
I may not bid thee stay.
What so malign as fate,
When two are met too late,
And recognize--and one must turn away?
Yet when thou goest forth to thy dark years,
And I walk desolate upon the strand,
Thy precious flower of song within my hand,
Shall fill my heart with rapture and with tears;
While underbreath I say
"His love--his love is mine,
Unto no other shrine
His soul from mine shall ever turn away."
And if some day it shall be mine to stand
And with my brimming eyes essay to trace
The way love looked upon thy marble face,
Thy flower of song will be within my hand:
None there shall say me nay:
I hold the flower in sign,
The dead will then be mine,
Nor ever more from my life turn away.