by Laurence Hope
The tropic day's redundant charms
Cool twilight soothes away,
The sun slips down behind the palms
And leaves the landscape grey.
I want to take you in my arms
And kiss your lips away!
I wake with sunshine in my eyes
And find the morning blue,
A night of dreams behind me lies
And all were dreams of you!
Ah, how I wish the while I rise,
That what I dream were true.
The weary day's laborious pace,
I hasten and beguile
By fancies, which I backwards trace
To things I loved erstwhile;
The weary sweetness of your face,
Your faint, illusive smile.
The silken softness of your hair
Where faint bronze shadows are,
Your strangely slight and youthful air,
No passions seem to mar,--
Oh, why, since Fate has made you fair,
Must Fortune keep you far?
Thus spent, the day so long and bright
Less hot and brilliant seems,
Till in a final flare of light
The sun withdraws his beams.
Then, in the coolness of the night,
I meet you in my dreams!
How much I loved that way you had
Of smiling most, when very sad,
A smile which carried tender hints
Of delicate tints
And warbling birds,
Of sun and spring,
And yet, more than all other thing,
Of Weariness beyond all Words!
None other ever smiled that way,
None that I know,--
The essence of all Gaiety lay,
Of all mad mirth that men may know,
In that sad smile, serene and slow,
That on your lips was wont to play.
It needed many delicate lines
And subtle curves and roseate tints
To make that weary radiant smile;
It flickered, as beneath the vines
The sunshine through green shadow glints
On the pale path that lies below,
Flickered and flashed, and died away,
But the strange thoughts it woke meanwhile
Were wont to stay.
Thoughts of Strange Things you used to know
In dim, dead lives, lived long ago,
Some madly mirthful Merriment
Whose lingering light is yet unspent,--
Some unimaginable Woe,--
Your strange, sad smile forgets these not,
Though you, yourself, long since, forgot!
Third Song, written during Fever
To-night the clouds hang very low,
They take the Hill-tops to their breast,
And lay their arms about the fields.
The wind that fans me lying low,
Restless with great desire for rest,
No cooling touch of freshness yields.
I, sleepless through the stifling heat,
Watch the pale Lightning's constant glow
Between the wide set open doors.
I lie and long amidst the heat,--
The fever that my senses know,
For that cool slenderness of yours.
So delicate and cool you are!
A roseleaf that has lain in snow,
A snowflake tinged with sunset fire.
You do not know, so young you are,
How Fever fans the senses' glow
To uncontrollable desire!
And fills the spaces of the night
With furious and frantic thought,
One would not dare to think by day.
Ah, if you came to me to-night
These visions would be turned to naught,
These hateful dreams be held at bay!
But you are far, and Loneliness
My only lover through the night;
And not for any word or prayer
Would you console my loneliness
Or lend yourself, serene and slight,
And the cool clusters of your hair.
All through the night I long for you,
As shipwrecked men in tropics yearn
For the fresh flow of streams and springs.
My fevered fancies follow you
As dying men in deserts turn
Their thoughts to clear and chilly things.
Such dreams are mine, and such my thirst,
Unceasing and unsatisfied,
Until the night is burnt away
Among these dreams and fevered thirst,
And, through the open doorways, glide
The white feet of the coming day.
Last updated January 14, 2019