By John Barlas
(pseud. Evelyn Douglas)
- I. "Lo in thine honour I will build a place"
- II. "Since I have known you I have little heed"
- III. "The primal earth, the all-pervading skies"
- IV. "Why do I love the silence of the moon"
- V. "Joy in desire more than desire of joy"
- VI. "How oft a lover in his later age"
- VII. "The perfume hidden at the rose's heart"
- VIII. "Hast thou, lone-standing by the forest's verge"
- IX. "How love ran on with us his varying course"
- X. "A leaf upon the river: let it float"
- XI. "Why are we thus divided having kissed?"
- XII. "Lo every leaf that dances in the glades"
- XIII. "To see the shadow and the leaf commune"
- XIV. "Kisses are sweetest under covering hair"
- XV. "Two bubbles in a crystal bowl appear"
- XVI. "The slumberous stillness of the summer noon"
- XVII. "The poor dumb creatures of the field, that call"
- XVIII. "The rifled riches of some flowery mead"
- "XIX. "Sweet lady mine, behold this desolate world"
- XX. "'Noblesse oblige:' it was a simple creed"
- XXI. "Love is own brother to self-sacrifice"
- XXII. "Love is a path to virtue for the brave"
- XXIII. "Loved once for ever loved: how surely sounds"
- XXIV. "The sea's wide bounds are yet not wide enough"
- XXVII. "Love's folly in others seemeth such no less"
- XXVI. "There is a secret all true lovers share"
- XXVII. "Can this our Love, as the old sage dared to deem"
- XXVIII. "What though I tread the thorny path of pain"
- XXIX. "Sweetest, I have not slept these two nights past"
- XXX. "Yes thou must die: I can but borrow thee"
- XXXI. "I envy not the lovers who are glad"
- XXXII. "As I go musing through this mournful land"
- XXXIII. "Ay as from dreams of some old glorious fight"
- XXXIV. "Thy picture's lips of mute and moveless art"
- XXXV. "A garden ransacked of its fairest rose"
- XXXVI. "A cut rose set in water, poor sick wraith"
- XXXVII. "Why in her absence doth the world appear"
- XXXVIII. "Loosed from strange hands into the wet wild night"
- XXXIX. "Each fair familiar feature of thy face"
- XL. "The wanderer, journeying through the midnight wood"
- XLI. "My heart's love is a miser, and his hoard"
- XLII. "The sweet-souled instrument in silence stands"
- XLIII. "Music and love are surely next of kin"
- XLIV. "As when day upon weary day it rains"
- XLV. "As the faint ghost of a forgotten strain"
- XLVI. "I saw thee in a vision of the night"
- XLVII. "Is not this cruel that thou, poor child, must look"
- XLVIII. "Lo the same moon, that lights one dreamy sky"
- "XLIX. "How canst thou shape thy lips to call me friend?"
- L. "The darkness swallows up the feeble light"
- LI. "I dreamed that twixt two fair far-sundered spheres"
- LII. "As fresh and faded leaves grown on one tree"
- LIII. "As a flower springs up out of dark and cold"
- LIV. "Wave after wave arises from the deep"
- LV. "Oh river flowing through the silent night"
- LVI. "As wine is sweet of taste to eager lips"
- LVII. "Like as a stream, that, having climbed a hill"
- LVIII. "Oh let me dream! Let slumber draw the bars"
- LIX. "Oh to live like a pictured pastoral!"
- LX. "To list vague music float o'er moonlit meres"
- LXI. "In sleep I saw the skies at midnight red"
- LXII. "Oh heart, why wilt thou suffer evermore?"
- LXIII. "The office of the strong is to console"
- LXIV. "When in the lonely stillness of the tomb"
Beauty is liberal as the heavenly air,
Beauty is boundless as the universe:
The waves of evil ponderously immerse
The pearl of good; beauty is everywhere.
Beauty is a devout a deep despair;
Hopes that with heaven's highest stars converse:
The poisonous blossom of a devil's curse;
The first and last word of an angel's prayer.
Creation and destruction at thy beck
Call love and lust: throiugh battle's bloody swarm
That youth with smiling face sees but thy form:
And, 'mid the shrieks of the fast sinking wreck,
A poet, standing on the wave-washed deck,
Stares awe-struck at the beauty of the storm.
Aug. 7th, 1888.
I. "Lo in thine honour I will build a place"
Lo in thine honour I will build a place
Where thou and I may dwell with love apart,
Hand clasped in hand and beating heart to heart,
And find from life's dull tumult a sweet space
Of rest and quiet: on its walls I trace
Shapes of religious and devoted art
And hues of fair imaginings, that start
And fill each crevice with thy sudden face.
Come live in it, for it is thine; thy friend
Is but the architect. 'Tis dark: so come,
Reveal its form with thine indwelling smile.
Nor lack I some far hope that in the end
Thy memory may thine heritor become,
And live in this pure house a little while.
II. "Since I have known you I have little heed"
Since I have known you I have little heed
For care or pain or fear. While we two live
Present or absent, we can richly give
Peace to each other. Hearts will run to weed
Like ruined gardens, scanted of love's seed.
Not ours: there sun and rain, restorative,
Awake the flowers; there heavenly smiles forgive
The errors of the rankest growth they breed.
Ah love me ever: pardon every wrong
That makes thy garden look less beautiful,
Even our love my soul should free of tares--
A slothful husbandman, whose idle song
Alas too often leaves the rich soil dull,
Stealing its dues of toil: but love forbears.
III. "The primal earth, the all-pervading skies"
The primal earth, the all-pervading skies,
The moon that at the sun her wan lip warms,
The stars and all we guess of them, the swarms
Of meteors, mists that melt in rainbow dyes,
The ocean and its world of far-off sighs,
The forest and its voices, the vague forms
Of mountains in green twilight, wingéd storms
That like red eagles from the sunset rise,
The living things that through their love and hate
Interpret these by vision to their thought,
And man that speaks his thought in words, I see;
And these with life, and death, and love, and fate,
And all conceptions of my soul, in-wrought,
Make up the complex whole, my dream of thee.
IV. "Why do I love the silence of the moon"
Why do I love the silence of the moon,
The paradisal distance of the dawn,
The depth of eve mysteriously withdrawn,
Better than all the roses of late June,
The garden's breath, the orchard's golden boon,
The burning brightness of the new-mown lawn,
The mossy forest-floor with beech-mast strawn,
And green trees waving in the depth of noon.
Night hath her dreams and the lone heart its tears;
Silence and longing weep themselves to rest
Each on the other's mild and maiden breast;
The seeking spirit sighs, the dim star hears;
Distance and high devotion suit the best,
And deep as thy deep eyes the dawn appears.
V. "Joy in desire more than desire of joy"
Joy in desire more than desire of joy
Hath ever been my passion: mute from far
To love an unknown woman like a star;
To build in dreams no waking could destroy
Some island-palace far from life's annoy;
By strength of spirit to force the silver bar
Of twilight till the dawn-gates stood ajar,
And gaze on Paradise, a dazzled boy;
To look forth o'er the ocean's grey-lit foam
In the dim morning; and in starry night
Upon the myriad-mustered worlds above;
To emulate the unequalled, Greece and Rome,
Heroes and deeds, the heads of faith and fight;
To adore thee whom I may scarcely love.
VI. "How oft a lover in his later age"
How oft a lover in his later age
Turning the leaves of some young poet's book
With idle finger and far absent look,
Startled, hath seen glance up from the clear page
A thought once deemed his sole self-heritage,
But left forgotten in some leafy nook,
When youth and love, locked hand in hand, forsook
His faltering steps on life's long pilgrimage.
Ah tears break forth that ever this should be--
Love like a glorious vision rearise,
As if the sunset rose above the sea.
And I, how leapt my heart with mad surprise,
When, stooping down to kiss thee, from thine eyes
I saw my own lost soul look up at me.
VII. "The perfume hidden at the rose's heart"
The perfume hidden at the rose's heart;
The inner sweetness of a dream; the cry
Of sorrow that escapes within a sigh,
The love within a kiss; the spiritual counterpart
Of a swift meaning motion of the eye,
Or lights that on the lips are born and die,
Named smiles:--all this to me and more thou art.
Search in thy breast, and see what holiest thing
Dwells inmost of thy thoughts, fulfilling each,
A soul unto the body of thy speech:
Then I in thee, as thou in me, shall sing,
And heaven in both, and both in heaven's reach--
Skies in our heart and skies about our wing.
VIII. "Hast thou, lone-standing by the forest's verge"
Hast thou, lone-standing by the forest's verge,
Marked the mysterious melody that sweeps
Among the boughs, or, melancholy, creeps
Along the moss? or felt teh dismal dirge,--
High up on mountain summits, that emerge
Above the reign of storm, where the snow sleeps,--
Of the unquiet distant ocean-deeps
At the sky's edge of shining stars and surge?
So dim a music from so deep a source
Hath my love's voice to me, as if it spake
Out of the earth or from beyond the spheres:
Lost hope, and vain regret, and long remorse
Out of the heart's deep solitudes awake
Like the world's dead, and clothe themselves with tears.
IX. "How love ran on with us his varying course"
How love ran on with us his varying course
From distant worship on to close embrace,
Would be a tale might drench the sternest face
With pitying tears: how sweet the joy could force
Our reticence; how came the long divorce
That left our hearts alone a weary space
Moaning apart each in his prison-place;
How bitter at the end our vain remorse;
What heart-aches and what tears, what long reproach,
What disappointments, sleep-forsaken nights,
And mornings when to wake was a regret;
What long disgust to watch the sun encroach
Upon the zenith, creeping up the heights,
What loathing hate of life to see him set.
X. "A leaf upon the river: let it float"
A leaf upon the river: let it float
With the loitering tide by many a winding reach
Under the grassy banks, past many a beach
Of silvery silt and shingle! The waves lift
Lazily on through lights that cross and shift
And dancing shadows, where the birch and beech
High up their leaning loving boughs impleach,
Then sweep it down the mill-race sudden and swift.
A heart that dallies with love's luring tide
Dancing with soft pulsation, lightly afloat
Upon the rising and subsiding wave,
Borne on through sun and shadow: let it glide,
Till helpless as a hurricane-harried boat
It hear the deafening waters rush and rave.
XI. "Why are we thus divided having kissed?"
Why are we thus divided having kissed?
Why are we yet two bodies and not one?
Why have our separate spirits leave to run
Two sundered paths of thought? what laws resist
The perfect bond whereof we dimly wist?
Love, incomplete, seems ever but begun,
And yearns to consummation never won,
His purpose always nearly gained,--and missed.
As mournful waves with desolate delight
That moaning kiss the same sands night by night
In changeless hunger, and are not appeased:
So I, who famish at possession's goal,
Must kiss and kiss, yet kisses ne'er console
Love's over-burdened heart that is not eased.
XII. "Lo every leaf that dances in the glades"
Lo every leaf that dances in the glades
Hath some soft shadow, that, swift and close as speech
Attends on thought, reflects it (Mark how each
Of those transparent delicate purple shades
Flutters and trembles, deepens and then fades
Along the silver bark of the smooth beech,
As waxing or as waning light may teach)--
Two beating hearts one sympathy pervades.
Thought is twin-born, the magnet's double pole;
And as one leaning o'er a well descries
Reflections mount of things he cannot see,
So I, down-gazing in my own stilled soul
At quietest, have beheld t'ward me arise
As shapes in water, the thoughts that pass in thee.
XIII. "To see the shadow and the leaf commune"
To see the shadow and the leaf commune
And pulse for pulse tremulously reply,--
Like dancing butterfly to butterfly,
As if two beating hearts beat to one tune,--
I wish that our two spirits therein were mewn,
Thou in the leaf, in the fond shadow I,
In sunny summer woods when winds were high,
One double heart-beat in the breast of June.
Nay thou shouldst be a cloud to float and rest
In bluest ether mid transcendent light,
And I a shadow to pursue thy flight
O'er flower-spread plain and green hill's rounded breast;
Or thou shouldst be a sweet song in the night,
And I an answering echo scarcely guessed.
XIV. "Kisses are sweetest under covering hair"
Kisses are sweetest under covering hair,
And whispers in its woven twilight best;
As flowery boughs above the chirping nest
Make sweet and sacred all the darkened air
Wherein abide the soft-secluded pair,
And know in the warm fragrance where they rest
The small heart beating in the downy breast
Each of its mate:--a Paradise they share.
This is a longing of the human heart
After that dream, an Eden all for two,
Some lonely island 'mid the ocean's blue
Where Love may sport, and laugh, and kiss apart.
Therefore it was a moment past I drew
Thine hair about mine eyes, Eve that thou art.
XV. "Two bubbles in a crystal bowl appear"
Two bubbles in a crystal bowl appear,
Born separately: round the opposing rims
Each for awhile in a charmed circle swims,
And shuns the other's touch, as if in fear.
A gold-fish rising breaks the mimic mere;
A thwart tide, traversing the surface, dims
The placid water: from the distant brims
The bubbles swept together are one sphere!
They might have perished singly; might have known
Life but not love, and living separate
Have ceased imperfect, sundered mate from mate;
And thou and I have walked the world alone,
And died so, if the strong storm had not blown
That swept us hither on the tides of fate.
XVI. "The slumberous stillness of the summer noon"
The slumberous stillness of the summer noon,
Is not its drowsy quiet perfect peace?
The very voices of the children cease
From their sweet laughter, as in dreamful swoon
They sink back in the grass, outwearied soon
With play and pleasure through the light's increase.
Night hath no hour like this in all her lease
Of cold calm slumber 'neath the spell-bound moon.
So is the height of love a perfect rest,
And stiller than all frost that ever froze
The ice-bound river, or sleep of spotless snows
On inaccessible mountain's footless crest,
Lies the all peaceful glow, the warm repose,
Of loving heart on heart, and breast by breast.
XVII. "The poor dumb creatures of the field, that call"
The poor dumb creatures of the field, that call
So sadly to their young; whose narrow mind,
Consciously helpless, looks up to mankind
Through pleading piteous eyes; that live in thrall,
Or, stricken in the shambles, groaning fall:--
Thinking of these how little grace they find,
And then of thee who never wast unkind,
And of our love, I could weep for them all.
This is the gift of Love, that we, so blest,
Should feel for the afflicted; that we twain
Should be united against wrong and pain,
The slaughtered lamb, the wild bird's rifled nest,
And, most of all, the fraud and force that stain
Homes of the human poor and the oppressed.
XVIII. "The rifled riches of some flowery mead"
The rifled riches of some flowery mead
Strewn by the roadside, scorned and castaway;
A bird's nest, pilfered on a holiday,
Its blue eggs broken, left with little heed;--