And from the deep-shadowed angles
Comes the soft murmur of lovers, 10
Then through the quiet of dusk
Bright sudden laughter.
From the hushed street, through the portal,
Where soon my lover will enter,
Comes the pure strain of a flute 15
Tender with passion.
Once you lay upon my bosom,
While the long blue-silver moonlight
Walked the plain, with that pure passion
All your own.
Now the moon is gone, the Pleiads
Gone, the dead of night is going;
Slips the hour, and on my bed
I lie alone.
I loved thee, Atthis, in the long ago,
When the great oleanders were in flower
In the broad herded meadows full of sun.
And we would often at the fall of dusk
Wander together by the silver stream, 5
When the soft grass-heads were all wet with dew,
And purple-misted in the fading light.
And joy I knew and sorrow at thy voice,
And the superb magnificence of love,—
The loneliness that saddens solitude, 10
And the sweet speech that makes it durable,—
The bitter longing and the keen desire,
The sweet companionship through quiet days
In the slow ample beauty of the world,
And the unutterable glad release 15
Within the temple of the holy night.
O Atthis, how I loved thee long ago
In that fair perished summer by the sea!
I shall be ever maiden,
If thou be not my lover,
And no man shall possess me
Henceforth and forever.
But thou alone shalt gather
This fragile flower of beauty,—
To crush and keep the fragrance
Like a holy incense.
Thou only shalt remember
This love of mine, or hallow 10
The coming years with gladness,
Calm and pride and passion.
It was summer when I found you
In the meadow long ago,—
And the golden vetch was growing
By the shore.
Did we falter when love took us
With a gust of great desire?
Does the barley bid the wind wait
In his course?
I recall thy white gown, cinctured
With a linen belt, whereon
Violets were wrought, and scented
With strange perfumes out of Egypt.
And I know thy foot was covered
With fair Lydian broidered straps;
And the petals from a rose-tree
Fell within the marble basin.