by Laurence Hope
Softly the feathery Palm-trees fade in the violet Distance,
Faintly the lingering light touches the edge of the sea,
Sadly the Music of Waves, drifts, faint as an Anthem's insistence,
Heard in the aisles of a dream, over the sandhills, to me.
Now that the Lights are reversed, and the Singing changed into sighing,
Now that the wings of our fierce, fugitive passion are furled,
Take I unto myself, all alone in the light that is dying,
Much of the sorrow that lies hid at the Heart of the World.
Sad am I, sad for your loss: for failing the charm of your presence,
Even the sunshine has paled, leaving the Zenith less blue.
Even the ocean lessens the light of its green opalescence,
Since, to my sorrow I loved, loved and grew weary of, you.
Why was our passion so fleeting, why had the flush of your beauty
Only so slender a spell, only so futile a power?
Yet, even thus ever is life, save when long custom or duty
Moulds into sober fruit Love's fragile and fugitive flower.
Fain would my soul have been faithful; never an alien pleasure
Lured me away from the light lit in your luminous eyes,
But we have altered the World as pitiful man has leisure
To criticise, balance, take counsel, assuredly lies.
All through the centuries Man has gathered his flower, and fenced it,
--Infinite strife to attain; infinite struggle to keep,--
Holding his treasure awhile, all Fate and all forces against it,
Knowing it his no more, if ever his vigilance sleep.
But we have altered the World as pitiful man has grown stronger,
So that the things we love are as easily kept as won,
Therefore the ancient fight can engage and detain us no longer,
And all too swiftly, alas, passion is over and done.
Far too speedily now we can gather the coveted treasure,
Enjoy it awhile, be satiated, begin to tire;
And what shall be done henceforth with the profitless after-leisure,
Who has the breath to kindle the ash of a faded fire?
Ah, if it only had lasted! After my ardent endeavour
Came the delirious Joy, flooding my life like a sea,
Days of delight that are burnt on the brain for ever and ever,
Days and nights when you loved, before you grew weary of me.
Softly the sunset decreases dim in the violet Distance,
Even as Love's own fervour has faded away from me,
Leaving the weariness, the monotonous Weight of Existence,--
All the farewells in the world weep in the sound of the sea.
Last updated January 14, 2019