But there was hope and we still had life,
And hearts are brave that the years have tried;
We looked in each other’s eyes and sighed,
Sad, pain-filled eyes, but free of strife.
Dance on, gaunt shadows, beside the wall,
We shrink from you in your cruel mirth;
But what are you and the dreams of Earth?
Our hard-won peace is worth them all.
AT AN OLD TRYSTING-PLACE
Where, dearest, fare thy feet this summer
Hast found a pasture green in which to tread,
Beside refreshing waters art thou led,
Content beyond my powers to conceive?
Does overflowing cup thy thirst relieve,
With princely feast hast thou thy hunger fed,
Uplifted high is thine anointed head,
Among thy kind dost thou esteem receive?
I pray ’tis so; and evermore shall
That year by year thy honors may increase,
No shadow darken thy prosperity,
Nor treach’rous pitfall mar thy way of peace.
My loving eyes would always joy to see
Thy path lie fair until thy journey cease.
TO A WATER LILY
This is her bed!
Dip the oars lightly,
Guide the craft rightly,
Where her sweet head
Nestles so calmly.
What says her heart,
Fragrant and golden?
In its depths holden,
With maiden art,
Whose image hath she?
Dare I disturb
Fancies so tender,
E’en to surrender?
Better to curb
Self for her peace.
Dream on, my flow’r!
Eyes have caressed thee,
I have confessed me,
In this still hour.
Will she requite me?
TOLD AT SUNSET
Upon the mountain’s top we pensive
The day was waning and the sun drooped low;
Long shadows fell across the vale below,
And deepened as they reached the distant wood.
The sky seemed in arm’s reach: in holy mood,
The trees stretched forth their boughs as to bestow
A vesper blessing, ere we turned to go.
Like feathered mother hovering her brood,
Gray twilight o’er the landscape spread her wings.
I looked into your eyes: in their clear glow,
There dwelt the light that altar candles throw
On imaged saint and penitent who clings
To God, whose likeness such pure beings show.
The strength’ning peace that contemplation brings,
Obliterating trace of earthly things,
Wrapt you in radiant aura, safe from woe.
The path became a long cathedral aisle,
The sinking sun, the Host to bow before
With folded hands and rev’rently adore,
The zephyrs wafting incense sweet the while.
There was a far-off priest, with gentle smile,
Whose parting benediction seemed to pour
Upon us, from the verge of some blest shore,
To which our ling’ring steps he would beguile.