Ay, you who win, and you who lose,
Whether you triumph,—or despair,—
When your returning footsteps choose
The homeward track, our love is there.
For, since the world is ordered thus,
To you the fame, the stress, the sword,
We can but wait, until to us
You give yourselves, for our reward.
To Whaler’s deck and Coral beach,
To lonely Ranch and Frontier-Fort,
Beyond the narrow bounds of speech
I lay the cable of my thought.
I fain would send my thanks to you,
(Though who am I, to give you praise?)
Since what you are, and work you do,
Are lessons for our easier ways.
alien stars your camp-fires glow,
I know you not,—your tents are far.
My hope is but in song to show,
How honoured and dear you are.
Although my life, which thou hast scarred and shaken,
Retains awhile some influence of thee,
As shells, by faithless waves long since forsaken,
Still murmur with the music of the Sea,
I shall forget. Not thine the haunting beauty,
Which, once beheld, for ever holds the heart,
Or, if resigned from stress of Fate or Duty,
Takes part of life away:—the dearer part.
I gave thee love; thou gavest but Desire.
Ah, the delusion of that summer night!
Thy soul vibrated at the rate of Fire;
Mine, with the rhythm of the waves of Light.
It is my love for thee that I regret,
Not thee, thyself, and hence,—I shall forget!
Ah, what hast thou done with that Lover of mine?
The Lover who only cared for thee?
Mine for a handful of nights, and thine
For the Nights that Are and the Days to Be,
The scent of the Champa lost its sweet—
So sweet is was in the Times that Were!—
Since His alone, of the numerous feet
That climb my steps, have returned not there.
Ahi, Yasmini, return not there!
Art thou yet athrill at the touch of His hand,
Art thou still athirst for His waving hair?
Nay, passion thou never couldst understand,
Life’s heights and depths thou wouldst never dare.
The Great Things left thee untouched, unmoved,
The Lesser Things had thy constant care.
Ah, what hast thou done with the Lover I loved,
Who found me wanting, and thee so fair?
Ahi, Yasmini, He found her fair!
Nay, nay, the greatest of all was thine;
The love of the One whom I craved for so,
But much I doubt if thou couldst divine
The Grace and Glory of Love, or know
The worth of the One whom thine arms embraced.
I may misjudge thee, but who can tell?
So hard it is, for the one displaced,
To weigh the worth of a rival’s spell.
Ahi, Yasmini, thy rival’s spell!