The Poems of Henry Van Dyke eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 235 pages of information about The Poems of Henry Van Dyke.

VI

EYES AND LIPS

1

Our silent eyes alone interpreted
The new-born feeling in the heart of each: 
In yours I read your sorrow without speech,
Your lonely struggle in their tears unshed. 
Behind their dreamy sweetness, as a veil,
I saw the moving lights of trouble shine;
And then my eyes were brightened as with wine,
My spirit reeled to see your face grow pale!

  Our deepening love, that is not yet allowed
    Another language than the eyes, doth learn
  To speak it perfectly:  above the crowd
  Our looks exchange avowals and desires,—­
    Like wave-divided beacon lights that burn,
  And talk to one another by their fires.

2

  When I embrace her in a fragrant shrine
    Of climbing roses, my first kiss shall fall
    On you, sweet eyes, that mutely told me all,—­
  Through you my soul will rise to make her mine. 
  Upon your drooping lids, blue-veined and fair,
    The touch of tenderness I first will lay,
    You springs of joy, lights of my gloomy day,
  Whose dear discovered secret bade me dare!

  And when you open, eyes of my fond dove,
    Your look will shine with new delight, made sure
  By this forerunner of a faithful love. 
    Tis just, dear eyes, so pensive and so pure,
  That you should bear the sealing kisses true
  Of love unhoped that came to me through you.

3

  This was my thought; but when beneath the rose
    That hides the lonely bench where lovers rest,
    In friendly dusk I held her on my breast
  For one brief moment,—­while I saw you close,
  Dear, yielding eyes, as if your lids, blue-veined
    And pure, were meekly fain at last to bear
    The proffered homage of my wistful prayer,—­
  In that high moment, by your grace obtained,

  Forgetting your avowals, your alarms,
    Your anguish and your tears, sweet weary eyes,
  Forgetting that you gave her to my arms,
  I broke my promise; and my first caress,
    Ungrateful, sought her lips in sweet surprise,—­
  Her lips, which breathed a word of tenderness!

VII

AN EVOCATION

  When first upon my brow I felt your kiss,
    A sudden splendour filled me, like the ray
  That promptly runs to crown the hills with bliss
    Of purple dawn before the golden day,
  And ends the gloom it crosses at one leap. 
    My brow was not unworthy your caress;
  For some foreboding joy had bade me keep
    From all affront the place your lips would bless.

  Yet when your mouth upon my mouth did lay
    The royal touch, no rapture made me thrill,
    But I remained confused, ashamed, and still. 
    Beneath your kiss, my queen without a stain,
  I felt,—­like ghosts who rise at Judgment Day,—­
    A throng of ancient kisses vile and vain!

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Project Gutenberg
The Poems of Henry Van Dyke from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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