John Donne |
I long to talk with some old lover's ghost,
Who died before the God of Love was born:
I cannot think that he, who then loved most,
Sunk so low as to love one which did scorn.
But since this god produced a destiny,
And that vice-nature, Custom, lets it be,
I must love her that loves not me.
Sure, they which made him god meant not so much,
Nor he in his young godhead practised it;
But when an even flame two hearts did touch,
His office was indulgently to fit
Actives to passives.
Only his subject was; it cannot be
Love, till I love her that loves me.
But every modern god will now extend
His vast prerogative as far as Jove.
To rage, to lust, to write to, to commend,
All is the purlieu of the God of Love.
Oh were we wakened by this tyranny
To ungod this child again, it could not be
I should love her who loves not me.
Rebel and atheist too, why murmur I
As though I felt the worst that love could do?
Love might make me leave loving, or might try
A deeper plague, to make her love me too,
Which, since she loves before, I'm loth to see;
Falsehood is worse than hate; and that must be,
If she whom I love should love me.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning |
The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!
Kahlil Gibran |
The tempest calmed after bending the branches of the trees and leaning heavily upon the grain in the field.
The stars appeared as broken remnants of lightning, but now silence prevailed over all, as if Nature's war had never been fought.
At that hour a young woman entered her chamber and knelt by her bed sobbing bitterly.
Her heart flamed with agony but she could finally open her lips and say, "Oh Lord, bring him home safely to me.
I have exhausted my tears and can offer no more, oh Lord, full of love and mercy.
My patience is drained and calamity is seeking possession of my heart.
Save him, oh Lord, from the iron paws of War; deliver him from such unmerciful Death, for he is weak, governed by the strong.
Oh Lord, save my beloved, who is Thine own son, from the foe, who is Thy foe.
Keep him from the forced pathway to Death's door; let him see me, or come and take me to him.
Quietly a young man entered.
His head was wrapped in bandage soaked with escaping life.
He approached he with a greeting of tears and laughter, then took her hand and placed against it his flaming lips.
And with a voice with bespoke past sorrow, and joy of union, and uncertainty of her reaction, he said, "Fear me not, for I am the object of your plea.
Be glad, for Peace has carried me back safely to you, and humanity has restored what greed essayed to take from us.
Be not sad, but smile, my beloved.
Do not express bewilderment, for Love has power that dispels Death; charm that conquers the enemy.
I am your one.
Think me not a specter emerging from the House of Death to visit your Home of Beauty.
"Do not be frightened, for I am now Truth, spared from swords and fire to reveal to the people the triumph of Love over War.
I am Word uttering introduction to the play of happiness and peace.
Then the young man became speechless and his tears spoke the language of the heart; and the angels of Joy hovered about that dwelling, and the two hearts restored the singleness which had been taken from them.
At dawn the two stood in the middle of the field contemplating the beauty of Nature injured by the tempest.
After a deep and comforting silence, the soldier said to his sweetheart, "Look at the Darkness, giving birth to the Sun.
George Meredith |
How many a thing which we cast to the ground,
When others pick it up becomes a gem!
We grasp at all the wealth it is to them;
And by reflected light its worth is found.
Yet for us still 'tis nothing! and that zeal
Of false appreciation quickly fades.
This truth is little known to human shades,
How rare from their own instinct 'tis to feel!
They waste the soul with spurious desire,
That is not the ripe flame upon the bough.
We two have taken up a lifeless vow
To rob a living passion: dust for fire!
Madam is grave, and eyes the clock that tells
We have struck despair
Into two hearts.
O, look we like a pair
Who for fresh nuptials joyfully yield all else?
Sir John Suckling |
I prithee send me back my heart,
Since I cannot have thine;
For if from yours you will not part,
Why, then, shouldst thou have mine?
Yet now I think on't, let it lie,
To find it were in vain;
For thou hast a thief in either eye
Would steal it back again.
Why should two hearts in one breast lie,
And yet not lodge together?
O Love! where is thy sympathy,
If thus our breasts thou sever?
But love is such a mystery,
I cannot find it out;
For when I think I'm best resolved,
I then am in most doubt.
Then farewell care, and farewell woe;
I will no longer pine;
For I'll believe I have her heart,
As much as she hath mine.
Emile Verhaeren |
In the garden of our love, summer still goes on: yonder, a golden peacock crosses an avenue; petals—pearls, emeralds, turquoises —deck the uniform slumber of the green swards.
Our blue ponds shimmer, covered with the white kiss of the snowy water-lilies; in the quincunxes, our currant bushes follow one another in procession; an iridescent insect teases the heart of a flower; the marvellous undergrowths are veined with gleams; and, like light bubbles, a thousand bees quiver along the arbours over the silver grapes.
The air is so lovely that it seems rainbow-hued; beneath the deep and radiant noons, it stirs as if it were roses of light; while, in the distance, the customary roads, like slow movements stretching their vermilion to the pearly horizon, climb towards the sun.
Indeed, the diamonded gown of this fine summer clothes no other garden with so pure a brightness. And the unique joy sprung up in our two hearts discovers its own life in these clusters of flames.
George (Lord) Byron |
There is a mystic thread of life
So dearly wreath'd with mine alone,
That Destiny's relentless knife
At once must sever both, or none.
There is a Form on which these eyes
Have fondly gazed with such delight---
By day, that Form their joy supplies,
And Dreams restore it, through the night.
There is a Voice whose tones inspire
Such softened feelings in my breast,
I would not hear a Seraph Choir,
Unless that voice could join the rest.
There is a Face whose Blushes tell
Affection's tale upon the cheek,
But pallid at our fond farewell,
Proclaims more love than words can speak.
There is a Lip, which mine has prest,
But none had ever prest before;
It vowed to make me sweetly blest,
That mine alone should press it more.
There is a Bosom all my own,
Has pillow'd oft this aching head,
A Mouth which smiles on me alone,
An Eye, whose tears with mine are shed.
There are two Hearts whose movements thrill,
In unison so closely sweet,
That Pulse to Pulse responsive still
They Both must heave, or cease to beat.
There are two Souls, whose equal flow
In gentle stream so calmly run,
That when they part---they part?---ah no!
They cannot part---those Souls are One.
Emile Verhaeren |
Step by step, day by day, age has come and placed his hands upon the bare forehead of our love, and has looked upon it with his dimmer eyes.
And in the fair garden shrivelled by July, the flowers, the groves and the living leaves have let fall something of their fervid strength on to the pale pond and the gentle paths. Here and there, the sun, harsh and envious, marks a hard shadow around his light.
And yet the hollyhocks still persist in their growth towards their final splendour, and the seasons weigh upon our life in vain; more than ever, all the roots of our two hearts plunge unsatiated into happiness, and clutch, and sink deeper.
Oh! these hours of afternoon girt with roses that twine around time, and rest against his benumbed flanks with cheeks aflower and aflame!
And nothing, nothing is better than to feel thus, still happy and serene, after how many years? But if our destiny had been quite different, and we had both been called upon to suffer—even then!—oh! I should have been happy to live and die, without complaining, in my stubborn love.
Mary Darby Robinson |
LET OTHERS wreaths of ROSES twine
With scented leaves of EGLANTINE;
Enamell'd buds and gaudy flow'rs,
The pride of FLORA'S painted bow'rs;
Such common charms shall ne'er be wove
Around the brows of him I LOVE.
Fair are their beauties for a day,
But swiftly do they fade away;
Each PINK sends forth its choicest sweet
AURORA'S warm embrace to meet;
And each inconstant breeze, that blows,
Steals essence from the musky ROSE.
Then lead me, FLORA, to some vale,
Where, shelter'd from the fickle gale,
In modest garb, amidst the gloom,
The constant MYRTLE sheds perfume;
And hid secure from prying eyes,
In spotless beauty BLOOMS and DIES.
And should its velvet leaves dispense
No pow'rful odours to the sense;
Should no proud tints of gaudy hue,
With dazz'ling lustre pain the view;
Still shall its verdant boughs defy
The northern blast, and wintry sky.
AH, VENUS ! should this hand of mine
Steal from thy tree a wreath divine,
Assist me, while I fondly bind
Two Hearts, by holy FRIENDSHIP join'd;
Thy cherish'd branches then shall prove,
Sacred to TRUTH, as well as LOVE.
Robert William Service |
In a strange town in a far land
They met amid a throng;
They stared, they could not understand
How life was sudden song.
As brown eyes looked in eyes of grey
Just for a moment's space,
Twin spirits met with sweet dismay
In that strange place.
And then the mob that swept them near
Reft them away again;
Two hearts in all the world most dear
Knew puzzlement and pain.
They barely brushed in passing by,
A wildered girl and boy,
Who should have clasped with laughing cry,
And wept for joy.
But no, the crowd cleft them apart,
And she went East, he West;
But there was havoc in his heart
And brooding in her breast.
In a far land, in a strange town
Amid a mob they met;
They stared, they passed .
But O deep down,
Can they forget?