[ocr errors]

Like the scent that steals from the crumbling sheet

Where a mummy is half unroll’d.

And I turn’d and look'd : she was sitting there,

In a dim box over the stage, and drest
In that muslin dress, with that full, soft hair,

And that jasmine in her breast.

I was here: and she was there :

And the glittering horse-shoe curved between, From my bride betroth’d, with her raven hair,

And her sumptuous, scornful mien,

To my early love, with her


downcast, And over her primrose face the shade. (In short, from the future back to the past

There was but a step to be made.)

To my early love from my future bride

One moment I look'd. Then I stole to the door. I traversed the passage, and down at her side

I was sitting, a moment more.

My thinking of her, or the music's strain,

Or something which never will be exprest, Had brought her back from the grave again,

With the jasmine in her breast.

She is not dead, and she is not wed,

But she loves me now, and she loved me then !

And the very first word that her sweet lips said,

My heart grew youthful again.

The Marchioness there, of Carabas,

She is wealthy, and young, and handsome still, And but for her,—well, we'll let that pass—

She may marry whomever she will.

But I will marry my own first love,

With her primrose face, for old things are best, And the flower in her bosom, I prize it above

The brooch in my lady's breast.

The world is fill’d with folly and sin,

And love must cling where it can, I say, For beauty is easy enough to win,

But one isn't loved every day.

And I think, in the lives of most women and men, There's a moment when all would go smooth and

even, If only the dead could find out when

To come back and be forgiven.

But oh, the smell of that jasmine flower !

And oh, that music ! and oh, the way That voice rang out from the donjon tower: Non ti scordar di me,

Non ti scordar di me !



BEFORE I trust my fate to thee,

Or place my hand in thine, Before I let thy future give

Color and form to mine, Before I peril all for thee, question thy soul to

night for me.

I break all slighter bonds, nor feel

A shadow of regret :
Is there one link within the Past

That holds thy spirit yet?
Or is thy faith as clear and free as that which I

can pledge to thee?

Does there within thy dimmest dreams

A possible future shine,
Wherein thy life could henceforth breathe,

Untouched, unshared by mine?
If so, at any pain or cost, O, tell me, before all is


Look deeper still. If thou canst feel,

Within thy inmost soul,
That thou hast kept a portion back,

While I have staked the whole,
Let no false pity spare the blow, but in true mercy

tell me so.

Is there within thy heart a need

That mine cannot fulfil ?
One chord that any other hand

Could better wake or still?
Speak now,—lest at some future day my whole

life wither and decay.

[ocr errors]

Lives there within thy nature hid

The demon-spirit Change,
Shedding a passing glory still

On all things new and strange?-
It may not be thy fault alone,—but shield my heart

against thy own.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Couldst thou withdraw thy hand one day,

And answer to my claim,
That Fate, and that to-day's mistake--

Not thou-had been to blame?
Some soothe their conscience thus; but thou wilt

surely warn and save me now.

Nay, answer not,-1 dare not hear,

The words would come too late;

« ForrigeFortsett »