MY APRIL LADY
When down the stair at morning
The sunbeams round her float,
Sweet rivulets of laughter
Are rippling in her throat;
The gladness of her greeting
Is gold without alloy;
And in the morning sunlight
I think her name is Joy.
When in the evening twilight
The quiet book-room lies,
We read the sad old ballads,
While from her hidden eyes
The tears are falling, falling,
That give her heart relief;
And in the evening twilight,
I think her name is Grief.
My little April lady,
Of sunshine and of showers
She weaves the old spring magic,
And my heart breaks in flowers!
But when her moods are ended,
She nestles like a dove;
Then, by the pain and rapture,
I know her name is Love.
I envy every flower that blows
Along the meadow where she goes,
And every bird that sings to her,
And every breeze that brings to her
The fragrance of the rose.
I envy every poet’s rhyme
That moves her heart at eventime,
And every tree that wears for her
Its brightest bloom, and bears for her
The fruitage of its prime.
I envy every Southern night
That paves her path with moonbeams white,
And silvers all the leaves for her,
And in their shadow weaves for her
A dream of dear delight.
I envy none whose love requires
Of her a gift, a task that tires:
I only long to live to her,
I only ask to give to her,
All that her heart desires.
Like a long arrow through the dark the
train is darting,
Bearing me far away, after a perfect day of love’s delight:
Wakeful with all the sad-sweet memories of parting,
I lift the narrow window-shade and look out on the night.
Lonely the land unknown, and like a river
Forest and field and hill are gliding backward still athwart my dream;
Till in that country strange, and ever stranger growing,
A magic city full of lights begins to glow and gleam.
Wide through the landscape dim the
lamps are lit in millions;
Long avenues unfold clear-shining lines of gold across the green;
Clusters and rings of light, and luminous pavilions,—
Oh, who will tell the city’s name, and what these wonders mean?
Why do they beckon me, and what have
they to show me?
Crowds in the blazing street, mirth where the feasters meet, kisses and
Many to laugh with me, but never one to know me:
A cityful of stranger-hearts and none to beat with mine!
Look how the glittering lines are
wavering and lifting,—
Softly the breeze of night scatters the vision bright: and, passing
Over the meadow-grass and through the forest drifting,
The Fire-Fly City of the Dark is lost in empty air!