I touched the heart that loved me as a player
Touches a lyre; content with my poor skill
No touch save mine knew my beloved (and still
I thought at times: Is there no sweet lost air
Old loves could wake in him, I cannot share?).
Oh, he alone, alone could so fulfil
My thoughts in sound to the measure of my will.
He is gone, and silence takes me unaware.
The songs I knew not he resumes, set free
From my constraining love, alas for me!
His part in our tune goes with him; my part
Is locked in me for ever; I stand as mute
As one with full strong music in his heart
Whose fingers stray upon a shattered lute.
THE POET SINGS TO HIS POET
From dawn to dusk, and from dusk to dawn,
We two are sundered always, sweet.
A few stars shake o’er the rocky lawn
And the cold sea-shore when we meet.
The twilight comes with thy shadowy feet.
We are not day and night, my Fair,
But one. It is an hour of hours.
And thoughts that are not otherwhere
Are thought here ’mid the blown sea-flowers,
This meeting and this dusk of ours.
Delight has taken Pain to her heart,
And there is dusk and stars for these.
Oh, linger, linger! They would not part;
And the wild wind comes from over-seas
With a new song to the olive trees.
And when we meet by the sounding pine
Sleep draws near to his dreamless brother.
And when thy sweet eyes answer mine,
Peace nestles close to her mournful mother,
And Hope and Weariness kiss each other.
Quiet form of silent nun,
What has given you to my inward eyes?
What has marked you, unknown one,
In the throngs of centuries
That mine ears do listen through?
This old master’s melody
That expresses you,
This admired simplicity,
Tender, with a serious wit,
And two words, the name of it,
And if sad the music is,
It is sad with mysteries
Of a small immortal thing
That the passing ages sing,—
Simple music making mirth
Of the dying and the birth
Of the people of the earth.
No, not sad; we are beguiled,
Sad with living as we are;
Ours the sorrow, outpouring
Sad self on a selfless thing,
As our eyes and hearts are mild
With our sympathy for Spring,
With a pity sweet and wild
For the innocent and far,
With our sadness in a star,
Or our sadness in a child.
But two words, and this sweet air.
Had he more, who set you there?
Was his music-dream of you
Of some perfect nun he knew,
Or of some ideal, as true?