O maiden, fresher than the first green
With which the fearful springtide flecks the lea,
Weep not, Almeida, that I said to thee
That thou hast half my heart, for bitter grief
Doth hold the other half in sovranty.
Thou art my heart’s sun in love’s crystalline:
Yet on both sides at once thou canst not shine:
Thine is the bright side of my heart, and thine
My heart’s day, but the shadow of my heart,
Issue of its own substance, my heart’s night
Thou canst not lighten even with thy light,
All powerful in beauty as thou art.
Almeida, if my heart were substanceless,
Then might thy rays pass thro’ to the other side,
So swiftly, that they nowhere would abide,
But lose themselves in utter emptiness.
Half-light, half-shadow, let my spirit sleep
They never learnt to love who never knew to weep.
=To a Lady Sleeping=
O thou whose fringed lids I gaze upon,
Through whose dim brain the winged dreams are born,
Unroof the shrines of clearest vision,
In honour of the silverflecked morn:
Long hath the white wave of the virgin light
Driven back the billow of the dreamful dark.
Thou all unwittingly prolongest night,
Though long ago listening the poised lark,
With eyes dropt downward through the blue serene,
Over heaven’s parapets the angels lean.
Could I outwear my present state of woe
With one brief winter, and indue i’ the spring
Hues of fresh youth, and mightily outgrow
The wan dark coil of faded suffering—
Forth in the pride of beauty issuing
A sheeny snake, the light of vernal bowers,
Moving his crest to all sweet plots of flowers
And watered vallies where the young birds sing;
Could I thus hope my lost delights renewing,
I straightly would commend the tears to creep
From my charged lids; but inwardly I weep:
Some vital heat as yet my heart is wooing:
This to itself hath drawn the frozen rain
From my cold eyes and melted it again.
Though Night hath climbed her peak of
And bitter blasts the screaming autumn whirl,
All night through archways of the bridged pearl
And portals of pure silver walks the moon.
Wake on, my soul, nor crouch to agony:
Turn cloud to light, and bitterness to joy,
And dross to gold with glorious alchemy,
Basing thy throne above the world’s annoy.
Reign thou above the storms of sorrow and ruth
That roar beneath; unshaken peace hath won thee:
So shall thou pierce the woven glooms of truth;
So shall the blessing of the meek be on thee;
So in thine hour of dawn, the body’s youth,
An honourable eld shall come upon thee.