True And False

by Isabella Valancy Crawford

Isabella Valancy Crawford

Oh ! spring was in his shining eyes
And summer in his happy soul;
He bounded o'er the misty rise
And saw the purple ocean roll.

With stars above and stars below,
The lovely eve was fair as noon;
He saw above him richly glow
The white shores of the sailing moon,

Her vales of jet, her pearly peaks,
The lustre on her shining sands;
Leaped eager roses to his cheeks,—
He cried, "I seek her silver strands!"

There rose a siren where the foam
Of ocean sparkled most with stars:
She combed gold locks with golden comb;
She floated past the murmuring bars.

She sang so loud, so silvery clear,
The trees in far woods seemed to stir,
And seaward lean; from lake and mere
Rushed eager rivers down to her.

She swept in mist of far blown hair,
Star-white, from glittering steep to steep;
She loved his gay and dauntless air—
Rose loftier from the purple deep,

Till, whiter than white coral rocks,
She glimmered high against the moon.
And oh, she loved his raven locks!
And oh, she sang him to his doom!

"O boy, why dost thou upward turn
The crystal of thy youthful eyes?
The true moon in the sea doth burn;
Far 'neath my silver feet she lies.

"Look down, look down, and thou shalt see
A fairer moon and mellower stars;
A shadow pale and wan is she
That floats o'er heaven's azure bars.

"Look down, look down—the true moon lies
Deep in mid-ocean's fairest part;
Nor let that wan shade on the skies
Draw all the tides of thy young heart.

"O let mine arms thy neck entwine!
O boy, come down to me, to me!
I'll bring thee where the moon doth shine,
The round moon in the silver sea."

He heard the song, he felt the spell,
He saw her white hand beckon on,
Believed the tale she sang so well,
Beheld the moon that falsely shone.

The true moon wheeled her silver isle
Serene in heaven's blue mystery;
He sank in those white arms of guile
To seek the false moon in the sea.

Last updated April 01, 2023