He. Dear my love, and O my love,
And O my love so lately!
Did we wander yonder grove
And sit awhile sedately?
For either you did there conclude
To do at length as I did,
Or passion’s fashion’s turn’d a prude,
And troth’s an oath derided.
She. Yea, my love—and nay, my love—
And ask me not to tell, love,
While I delay’d an idle day
What ’twixt us there befell, love.
Yet either I did sit beside
And do at length as you did,
Or my delight is lightly by
An idle lie deluded!
All night a fountain pleads,
Telling her beads,
Her tinkling beads monotonous ’neath the moon;
And where she springs atween,
Two statues lean—
Two Kings, their marble beards with moonlight
Till hate had frozen speech,
Each hated each,
Hated and died, and went unto his place:
And still inveterate
They lean and hate
With glare of stone implacable, face to face.
One, who bade set them here
In stone austere,
To both was dear, and did not guess at all:
Yet with her new-wed lord
Walking the sward
Paused, and for two dead friends a tear let fall.
She turn’d and went
Yet in the spray
The shining tear attempts, but cannot lie.
Night-long the fountain drips,
But even slips
Untold that one bead of her rosary:
While they, who know it would
Lie if it could,
Lean on and hate, watching it, eye to eye.
Hush! and again the chatter of the starling
Athwart the lawn!
Lean your head close and closer. O my darling!—
It is the dawn.
Dawn in the dusk of her dream,
Dream in the hush of her bosom, unclose!
Bathed in the eye-bright beam,
Blush to her cheek, be a blossom, a rose!
Go, nuptial night! the floor of Ocean tressing
With moon and star;
With benediction go and breathe thy blessing
On coasts afar.
Hark! the theorbos thrum
O’er the arch’d wave that in white smother booms
“Mother of Mystery, come!
Fain for thee wait other brides, other grooms!”
Go, nuptial night, my breast of hers bereaving!
Yet, O, tread soft!
Grow day, blithe day, the mountain shoulder heaving
More gold aloft!
Gold, rose, bird of the dawn,
All to her balcony gather unseen—
Thrill through the curtain drawn,
Bless her, bedeck her, and bathe her, my Queen!