That was the sound of the wicket!
That was the latch as it rose!
No–the wind that through the thicket
Of the poplars whirring goes.
Put on thy beauty, foliage-vaulted roof,
Her to receive: with silent welcome grace her;
Ye branches build a shadowy room, eye-proof,
With lovely night and stillness to embrace her,
Ye airs caressing, wake, nor keep aloof,
In sport and gambol turning still to face her,
As, with its load of beauty, lightly borne,
Glides in the fairy foot, and dawns my morn.
What is that rustling the hedges?
She, with her hurrying pace?
No, a bird among the sedges,
Startled from its hiding-place!
Quench thy sunk torch, O Day! Steal out, appear,
Dim, ghostly Night, with dumbness us entrancing!
Spread thy rose-purple veil about us here;
Weave round us twigs, the mystery enhancing:
Love’s rapture flees the lurking listening ear–
Flies from the Day, so indiscreetly glancing;
Hesper alone–no tattling tell-tale he–
Far-gazing, still, her confidant may be.
That was a voice, but far distant,
Faint, like a whispering low!
No; the swan that draws persistent
Through the pond his circles slow!
About mine ears harmonious breathings flow;
The fountain falls in sweetly wavering rushes;
The flower beneath the west wind’s kiss bends slow;
Delight from each to every thing outgushes;
Grape-clusters beckon; peaches luring glow,
And hide half in their leaves, up-swelling luscious;
The air, which aromatic odours streak,
Drinks up the glow upon my burning cheek.
Hear I not echoing footfalls
Hither adown the pleach’d walk?
No; the over-ripened fruit falls,
Heavy-swollen, from off its stalk!
Day’s flaming eye at last is quenched quite;
In gentle death its colours all are paling;
Now boldly open in the fair twilight
The cups which in his blaze had long been quailing;
Slow lifts the moon her visage calmly bright;
Into great masses molten, earth sinks failing;
From every charm the zone drops unaware,
And shrouded beauty dawns upon me bare.
Yonder I see a white shimmer–
Silky–of robe or of shawl?
No; it is the column’s glimmer
‘Gainst the clipt yews’ gloomy wall!
O longing heart, no more thyself befool,
Flouted by Fancy’s loveliness unreal!
The empty arm no burning heart will cool,
No shadow-joy hold place for Love’s Ideal!
O bring my live love all my heart to rule!
Give me her hand to hold, my every weal!
Or but the shadow of her mantle’s hem–
And straight my dreams shall live, and I in them!
And soft as, from hills rosy-golden
The dews of still gladness descend,
So had she drawn nigh unbeholden,
And wakened with kisses her friend.