The summer Night comes brooding down on Earth,
As Love comes brooding down on human hearts,
With bliss that hath no utterance save rich tears.
She floats in fragrance down the smiling dark,
Foldeth a kiss upon the lips of Life--
Curtaineth into rest the weary world--
And shuts us in with all our hid delights.
The Stars come sparkling thro' the gorgeous gloom,
Like dew-drops in the fields of heaven; or tears
That hang rich jewels on the cheeks of Night.
A spirit-feel is in the solemn air,
The Flowers fold their cups like praying hands,
And with drooped heads await the blessing, Night
Gives with her solemn magnanimity.
'Tis evening with the world; but, in my soul
The light of wedded love is still at dawn!
And skies my world, an everlasting Dawn.
My heart rings out in music, like a lark
Hung in the charméd palace of the Morn,
That circles singing to its mate i' the nest,
With luminous being running o'er with song:
So my heart flutters round its mate at home!
There, with her eyes turned to her heart, she reads
The golden secrets written on its heaven,
And broodeth o'er its panting wealth of love,
As Night i' the hush and hallow of her beauty
Bares throbbing heaven to its most tremulous depths,
And broods in silence o'er her starry wealth.
And, fingering in her bosom's soft, white nest,
A fair babe, beautiful as Dawn in heaven,
Made of a mother's richest thoughts of love--
Lies like a smile of sunshine among lilies,
That giveth glory--drinketh fragrant life!
Sweet bud upon a Rose! our plot of spring,
That bursts in bloom amid a wintry world!
How dear it is to mark th' immortal life
Deepen, and darken, in her large, round eyes--
To watch Life's rose of dawn put forth its leaves,
And guess the perfumed secret of its heart--
And catch the silver words that come to break
The golden silence hung like heaven around.
But soft! Elysium opens in my brain!
Dear wife! with sweet, low voice, she syllables
Some precious music balm'd in her heart's book,
And I am flooded with melodious rain,
Like Nature standing crown'd with sunlit showers.
"As the surging heart o' the Sea hungers everlastingly
For the Moon, heaven-charméd by her influence:
As Star yearns to Star, with love palpitating like a dove,
Doth my heart yearn up to his bright eminence.
"O my Love, he seems to stand where Heaven leans so near at hand,
That from other worlds his lineaments take light:
And he fills my cup of wonder, and floods all my life with splendor,
As a glorious, golden Moon fills all the night.
"At his violet-sweet words my heart carols like a bird's,
And rich instincts burst from out it like heaven-flowers;
Wings bud in me at his kiss, and my being brims with bliss,
As a valley brims with life in spring-tide hours.
"O my life was dark and cold as the night-dews on the wold,
Waiting to be made alive with fire of dawn;
Till his presence on me lighten'd, and his blessing on me brighten'd,
And my life like dews lit up for heaven shone."
Nay, Sweet Heart! that should be my song, who search
Love's lore in vain for meet similitudes
To symbol what thy love hath been to me.
The God lies prison'd in the mountain stone,
The muffled Music slumbers in the strings,
Awaiting the Deliverer's magic touch!
So, thou beloved! did I wait for Thee,
To waken at thy touch. My Tree of being
But made blind gropings in the dark, cold earth,
And moan'd and trembled, in the wintry air,
Stretching out naked hands to pluck at life:
Until you came, with all your light, and warmth,
Encircling round it like a summer heaven,
And fed, and clad it with your fragrant beauty,
Till budding branches burst on fire with bloom,
And into ripe fruits mellow'd goldenly.
My life lay barren as a desolate moor
That breaks, and burns, in twinkling green and gold,
When Spring doth greet it with her kiss of life.
As weary earth goes darkling thro' the night,
So my heart toil'd on, tearful with its burden:
No beacon burn'd thro' all the gloom, to break
The surging sea of dark, with piers of light:
Then on a suddon rose the blessed Morn,
Sun-crown'd my life, made all things beautiful,
And gave the world its Eden-robes again.
My soul up-sprung full statured, in the light,
Thy presence caught my heart up at the leap.
Wing'd like a young world from the hands of God!
Methought a thousand graves of buried hopes
Could crush it not from its proud eminence.
The Future's dim cloud-curtain rent in twain,
And lighten'd radiant revelation: All
Life's purpose dawn'd, as unto dying eyes
The dark of Death doth blossom into stars.
And since we met, thy life-long thought hath been
To be cup-bearer of the wine of joy
To one leal heart, and to make rich one life.
Pulse after pulse, thy life hath surged in mine,
Like sea-waves hurrying up the beach to crown
Their shore, and break in starry showers of light.
Thou hast brought radiant sunrise every morn,
Renewing all the glory past away.
Thy lavish love hath twined about my life,
Like the lush Woodbine wedded to the Thorn;
Hiding its harshness with her wealth of flowers!
My heart drinks inspiration at thine eyes,
And lights my brain up as with fragrant flame:
Sweet eyes of starry tenderness, thro' which
The soul of some immortal sorrow looks!
Sorrow that addeth grace to loveliness,
As its sad bloom enricheth blushing fruit.
Dear Eyes! they have a radiant Alchemy,
And pierce my being with such quickening light
As makes my heart a jewel-mine of love;
Even as the Sun strikes thro' the dark cold Earth,
And fires her million veins with golden life.
My Life ran like a river in rocky ways,
And downward dashed, a sounding cataract!
But thine was like a quiet lake of beauty,
Soft-shadow'd round by gracious influences,
That gathers silently the wealth of earth,
And woos heaven till it melts down into it.
They mingled: and the glory, and the calm,
And royal-rich magnificence of thy love,
Closed round me, brooding into perfect rest,
And made my heart rejoice in all thy joy.
O blessings on thy true and tender heart!
How it hath gone forth like the Dove of old,
To bring some leaf of promise in Life's deluge!
Thou hast a strong up-soaring tendency,
That bears me Godward, as the stalwart oak
Uplifts the clinging vine, and gives it growth.
Thy reverent heart familiarly doth take
Unconscious clasp of high and holy things,
Like little children playing of old with Christ;
And trusteth where it may not understand.
We have had sorrows, love! and wept the tears
That run the rose-hue from the cheeks of Life;
But Grief hath jewels as Night hath her stars!
And she revealeth what we ne'er had known,
With Joy's wreath tumbled o'er our blinded eyes.
The heart is like an instrument whose strings
Steal magic music from Life's mystic frets;
The golden threads are spun thro' Suffering's fire,
Wherewith the marriage-robes for heaven are woven:
And all the rarest hues of human life
Take radiance, and are rainbow'd out in tears,
As water'd marble blooms a richer grain.
Thou 'rt little changed, dear love! since first was wed
To mine, the blossom of thy crimson lips;
Thy beauty hath climaxed like a crescent Moon,
With glory great'ning to the golden full.
Thy flowers of Spring are crown'd with summer fruits,
And thou hast put a queenlier presence on
With thy regality of Womanhood!
Yet Time but toucheth thee with mellowing shades
That set thy graces in a wealthier light.
Thy soul still looks with its rare smile of light,
From the Gate Beautiful of its palace-home,
Fair as the spirit of the evening Star
That lights its glory as a radiant porch
To beacon earth with a brief glimpse of heaven.
We are poor in this world's wealth, but rich in love;
And they who love feel rich in every thing.
The heart of Ocean--thick with gems, as earth
With blooms--is jewell'd like a Bridge o' the East:
The heart of Heaven swarms with golden worlds--
A subtle heart of wealth hath our old world,
And darks of diamonds, grand as nights of stars:
But richer is the human heart that shrines
God's peerless wealth--th' immortal jewel Love!
So let us live our life: and let our love,
Our large twin-love, bend o'er our little Babe.
As the calm grand old heavens bend over earth,
Revealing God's own starry thoughts and things!
So shall the image of our heart's Ideal--
The angel nestling in her bud of life--
Smile upward in the mirror of her face
A daily beauty in our darkened ways,
And a perpetual feast of holy things.
O let us walk the world, so that our love
Burn like a blessed beacon, beautiful!
Upon the walls of Life's surrounding dark.
Ah! what a world 'twould be if love like ours
Made heaven in human hearts, and clothed with smiles
The sweet sad face of our Humanity!
What lives should quicken into sudden spring!
What flowers of glory burst their frozen soil!
Like the red pulse of Dawn thro' cold grey skies,
New life should flush up in the darken'd face
That readeth as a written epitaph
Above the grave of beauty and of soul!
Love-light should glimmer on the Helot's brow
As mellow moonlight silvers thro' a cloud,
And God should come into the mirkiest being,
As Stars new-kindled splendor nights of space.