How short is the day, brother,
And how short is the night?
Oh, the day’s too long for a heavy task,
And long, long, long is the night,
When the wakeful hours are filled with pain,
And the sad heart waits for the thing it fears,
And sighs for the dawn to come again,—
The night is a thousand years!
How long is a life, dear God,
And how fast does it flow?
The measure of life is a flame in the soul:
It is neither swift nor slow.
But the vision of time is the shadow cast
By the fleeting world on the body’s wall;
When it fades there is neither future nor past,
But love is all in all.
Her eyes are like the evening air,
Her voice is like a rose,
Her lips are like a lovely song,
That ripples as it flows,
And she herself is sweeter than
The sweetest thing she knows.
A slender, haunting, twilight form
Of wonder and surprise,
She seemed a fairy or a child,
Till, deep within her eyes,
I saw the homeward-leading star
Of womanhood arise.
Across a thousand miles of sea, a hundred
leagues of land,
Along a path I had not traced and could not understand,
I travelled fast and far for this,—to take thee by the hand.
A pilgrim knowing not the shrine where
he would bend his knee,
A mariner without a dream of what his port would be,
So fared I with a seeking heart until I came to thee.
O cooler than a grove of palm in some
O fairer than an isle of calm after the wild sea race,
The quiet room adorned with flowers where first I saw thy face!
Then furl the sail, let fall the oar,
forget the paths of foam!
The fate that made me wander far at last has brought me home
To thee, dear haven of my heart, and I no more will roam.
Oh, why are you shining so bright, big
And why is the garden so gay?
Do you know that my days of delight are done,
Do you know I am going away?
If you covered your face with a cloud, I’d dream
You were sorry for me in my pain,
And the heavily drooping flowers would seem
To be weeping with me in the rain.
But why is your head so low, sweet heart,
And why are your eyes overcast?
Are you crying because you know we must part,
Do you think this embrace is our last?
Then kiss me again, and again, and again,
Look up as you bid me good-bye!
For your face is too dear for the stain of a tear,
And your smile is the sun in my sky.