In Vain

by Adah Isaacs Menken

Adah Isaacs Menken

O foolish tears, go back!
Learn to cover your jealous pride far down in the nerveless heart that ye are voices for.
Your sobbings mar the unfinished picture that my trembling life would fill up to greet its dawn.
I know, poor heart, that you are reaching up to a Love that finds not all its demands in thy weak pulse.
And I know that you sob up your red tears to my face, because-because-others who care less for his dear Love may, each day, open their glad eyes his lightest wish to bless.
But, jealous heart, we will not give him from drops that overflow thy rim.
We will fathom the mysteries of earth, of air and of sea, to fill thy broad life with beauty, and then empty all its very depths of light deep into his wide soul!
Ah! When I am a cloud-a pliant, floating cloud-I will haunt the Sun-God for some eternal ray of Beauty.
I will wind my soft arms around the wheels of his blazing chariot, till he robes me in gorgeous trains of gold!
I will sing to the stars till they crown me with their richest jewels!
I will plead to the angels for the whitest, broadest wings that ever walled their glorious heights around a dying soul!
Then I will flaunt my light down the steep grooves of space into this dark, old world, until Eyes of Love will brighten for me!
When I am a flower-a wild, sweet flower-I will open my glad blue eyes to one alone.
I will bloom in his footsteps, and muffle their echoes with my velvet lips.
So near him will I grow that his breath shall mark kisses on all my green leaves!
I will fill his deep soul with all the eternal fragrance of my love!
Yes, I will be a violet-a wild sweet violet-and sigh my very life away for him!
When I am a bird-a white-throated bird-all trimmed in plumage of crimson and gold, I will sing to one alone.
I will come from the sea-the broad blue sea-and fold my wings with olive-leaves to the glad tidings of his hopes!
I will come from the forest-the far old forest-where sighs and tears of reckless loves have never moaned away the morning of poor lives.
I will come from the sky, with songs of an angel, and flutter into his soul to see how I may be all melody to him!
Yes, I will be a bird-a loving, docile bird-and furl my wild wings, and shut my sad eyes in his breast!
When I am a wave-a soft, white wave-I will run up from ocean's purple spheres, and murmur out my low sweet voice to one alone.
I will dash down to the cavern of gems and lift up to his eyes Beauty that will drink light from the Sun!
I will bring blue banners that angels have lost from the clouds.
Yes, I will be a wave-a happy, dancing wave-and leap up in the sunshine to lay my crown of spray-pearls at his feet.
Alas! poor heart, what am I now?
A weed-a frail, bitter weed-growing outside the garden wall.
All day straining my dull eyes to see the blossoms within, as they wave their crimson flags to the wind.
And yet my dark leaves pray to be as glorious as the rose.
My bitter stalks would be as sweet as the violet if they could.
I try to bloom up into the light.
My poor, yearning soul to Heaven would open its velvet eyes of fire.
Oh! the love of Beauty through every fibre of my lonely life is trembling!
Every floating cloud and flying bird draws up jealous Envy and bleeding Love!
So passionately wild in me is this burning unspeakable thirst to grow all beauty, all grace, all melody to one-and to him alone!

Last updated July 05, 2015