Till closer drawn, her prison’d fingers
He takes to his lips with a yearning strong;
And she murmurs low, that late she lingers,
Her mother will want her, and think her long.
“Good mother is she, then honor duly
The lightest wish in her heart that stirs;
But there is a bond yet dearer truly,
And there is a love that passeth hers.
“Mercy, Mercy!” Her heart attendeth—
Love’s birthday blush on her brow lies sweet;
She turns her face when his own he bendeth,
And the lips of the youth and the maiden meet.
Move through the bowering hops, O lovers,—
Wander down to the golden West,—
But two stand mute in the shade that covers
Your love and youth from their souls opprest.
A little shame on their spirits stealing,—
A little pride that is loth to sue,—
A little struggle with soften’d feeling,—
And a world of fatherly care for you.
One says: “To this same running water,
May be, Neighbor, your claim is best.”
And one—“Your son has kissed my daughter:
Let the matters between us—rest.”
O fancy, if thou flyest, come back anon,
Thy fluttering wings are soft as love’s first word,
And fragrant as the feathers of that bird,
Which feeds upon the budded cinnamon.
I ask thee not to work, or sigh—play on,
From nought that was not, was, or is, deterred;
The flax that Old Fate spun thy flights have stirred,
And waved memorial grass of Marathon.
Play, but be gentle, not as on that day
I saw thee running down the rims of doom
With stars thou hadst been stealing—while they lay
Smothered in light and blue—clasped to thy breast;
Bring rather to me in the firelit room
A netted halcyon bird to sing of rest.
One launched a ship, but she was wrecked at sea;
He built a bridge, but floods have borne it down;
He meant much good, none came: strange destiny,
His corn lies sunk, his bridge bears none to town,
Yet good he had not meant became his crown;
For once at work, when even as nature free,
From thought of good he was, or of renown,
God took the work for good and let good be.
So wakened with a trembling after sleep,
Dread Mona Roa yields her fateful store;
All gleaming hot the scarlet rivers creep,
And fanned of great-leaved palms slip to the shore,
Then stolen to unplumbed wastes of that far deep,
Lay the foundations for one island more.