Ah, mine no more the glow of dawning beauty,
The fragrance and the dainty gloss of youth,
Worn by long years of solitude and duty,
I have no bloom to offer thee in truth.
Yet, since these eyes of mine have never wandered,
Still may they gleam with long forgotten light.
Since in no wanton way my youth was squandered,
Some sense of youth still clings to me to-night.
Thy lips are fresh as dew on budding roses,
The gold of dawn still lingers in thy hair,
While the abandonment of sleep discloses
How every attitude of youth is fair.
Thou art so pale, I hardly dare caress thee,
Too brown my fingers show against the white.
Ahi, the glory, that I should possess thee,
Ahi, the grief, but for a single night!
The tulip tree has pallid golden flowers
That grow more rosy as their petals fade;
Such is the splendour of my evening hours
Whose time of youth was wasted in the shade.
I shall not wait to see to-morrow’s morning,
Too bright the golden dawn for me,—too bright,—
How could I bear thine eyes’ unconscious scorning
Of what so pleased thee in the dimmer light?
It may be wine had brought some brief illusion,
Filling thy brain with rainbow fantasy,
Or youth, with moonlight, making sweet collusion,
Threw an alluring glamour over me
Therefore I leave thee softly, to awaken
When the first sun rays warm thy blue-veined breast,
Smiling and all unknowing I have taken
The poppied drink that brings me endless rest.
Thus would I have thee rise; thy fancy laden
With the vague sweetness of the bygone night,
Thinking of me as some consenting maiden,
Whose beauty blossomed first for thy delight.
While I, if any kindly visions hover
Around the silence of my last repose,
Shall dream of thee, my pale and radiant lover,
Who made my life so lovely at its close!
Now is the season of my youth,
Not thus shall I always be,
Listen, dear Lord, thou too art young,
Take thy pleasure with me.
My hair is straight as the falling rain,
And fine as morning mist,
I am a rose awaiting thee
That none have touched or kissed.
Do as thou wilt with mine
Beloved, I only pray,
Follow the promptings of thy youth.
Let there be no delay!
A leaf that flutters upon the bough,
A moment, and it is gone,—
A bubble amid the fountain spray,—
Ah, pause, and think thereon;
For such is youth and its passing bloom
That wait for thee this hour,
If aught in thy heart incline to me
Ah, stoop and pluck thy flower!
Come, my Lord, to the temple
Where cooling fountains play,
If aught in thy heart incline to love
Let there be no delay!