Love on his errand bound to go
Can swim the flood and wade through snow,
Where way is none, ’t will creep and wind
And eat through Alps its home to find.
Though love repine, and reason chafe,
There came a voice without reply,—
’’T is man’s perdition to be safe,
When for the truth he ought to die.’
Well and wisely said the Greek,
Be thou faithful, but not fond;
To the altar’s foot thy fellow seek,—
The Furies wait beyond.
Test of the poet is knowledge of love,
For Eros is older than Saturn or Jove;
Never was poet, of late or of yore,
Who was not tremulous with love-lore.
I see all human wits
Are measured but a few;
Unmeasured still my Shakspeare sits,
Lone as the blessed Jew.
Her passions the shy violet
From Hafiz never hides;
Love-longings of the raptured bird
The bird to him confides.
As sings the pine-tree in the wind,
So sings in the wind a sprig of the pine;
Her strength and soul has laughing France
Shed in each drop of wine.
[Greek: ADAKRYN NEMONTAI AIONA]
‘A New commandment,’ said the smiling
’I give my darling son, Thou shalt not preach’;—
Luther, Fox, Behmen, Swedenborg, grew pale,
And, on the instant, rosier clouds upbore
Hafiz and Shakspeare with their shining choirs.
SONNET OF MICHEL ANGELO BUONAROTTI
Never did sculptor’s dream unfold
A form which marble doth not hold
In its white block; yet it therein shall find
Only the hand secure and bold
Which still obeys the mind.
So hide in thee, thou heavenly dame,
The ill I shun, the good I claim;
I alas! not well alive,
Miss the aim whereto I strive.
Not love, nor beauty’s pride,
Nor Fortune, nor thy coldness, can I chide,
If, whilst within thy heart abide
Both death and pity, my unequal skill
Fails of the life, but draws the death and ill.
FROM THE PERSIAN OF KERMANI
In Farsistan the violet spreads
Its leaves to the rival sky;
I ask how far is the Tigris flood,
And the vine that grows thereby?
Except the amber morning wind,
Not one salutes me here;
There is no lover in all Bagdat
To offer the exile cheer.
I know that thou, O morning wind!
O’er Kernan’s meadow blowest,
And thou, heart-warming nightingale!
My father’s orchard knowest.