Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CALL OF LOVE, by CHARLES V. H. ROBERTS

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THE CALL OF LOVE, by            
First Line: O immortal love! The centuries
Last Line: O sequestered face—love's deathless countenance!
Subject(s): Hearts; Love - Nature Of

O Immortal Love! The centuries
Have confessed thy powers and art to please,
Yet still thou guardest all thy mystery.
Command is writ upon thy brow—the free
Of Earth e'er have yielded to thy sway.

Time has not bent thee to the ground,
Aged thy face or deafed thine ears to sound;
There's enraptured secret glitter in thine eyes,
And in thy voice, an outflung solo from the skies,
An earth-lyre for Nature's Mastery.

Nor rocks, nor caves can from thy presence hide;
No soul from thee can surgéd sea divide;
From dawn thy bridal veil fills all man's sight,
And steels the thews of youth to deeds of might.
Thou art Queen Beauty, in Life's Dynasty.

Deep through Life, emotion sheds thy beams,
Like stars that twinkle in the spring-fed streams.
Thy waving hair as years, upon the surface blows;
Thy cheeks reflect the lily, then the rose,
Each petal beating in some human heart.

Thou dost weave a magic on the waiting air,
Through twilights, on and on, enchanting free.
Leaf-dance and petal-gleam thine errants see;
Hear woodland voices, soft and fair,
And the vaster fairy footsteps of the night.

Who can glimpse thy scheme, thy jewelled visage,
For Philosophy and Science are but mirage
That oppose their own great doctrines. Can a storm
Stir the petals of a rose, or tempest warm
The twilight into day before the passage of the night?

Then Love, thou hast a savage courage and
Deliberate force, that venture and expand
The whirl-winds of fierce Nature's great desires.
Storm or heights, the flaming sun or fires
Of Hell, control not thy spirit's soaring might.

Oft thou art wild, mad and irridescent
In thine ills—then mist-veiled, dim and convalescent,
Dream-drowsy in thy languor and thy mystery;
Voluptuous in spice-scents, thy pulses beat fiercely;
Thine opal heart leaps—in sunset crimsoning.

O rapturous one, thou art the keeper of the keys
To Paradise. Guard well the gates—lest on my knees
I shall demand they be unlocked wide
Open—then engulfed by stern Passion's tide,
A pagan god inhaling rare incense.

Thou dost make souls flash together in
A flame of new-found joy, and all within
Thy wondrous unseen presence. A swooning perfume
O'er the quietest sleepers in the world consumes
To vibrant ecstasies—hitherto unknown.

Then Love, hold high thy chalice lest I quaff
Too deep, lured by the perfume of thy wine;
For the fairest liquor yields its spurious dregs,
That feed the mortal and choke the soul divine,
The fountain of our hopes and destinies.

One cannot suffer who has never loved,
Nor can he love who has not sorrow known.
Dream worlds and all our many pains are moved
Beneath thy wings, cherished pathways shown;
Thy half-veiled star keeps vigil over us.

Thou art a Child, a Mother, Husband, Wife.
Oh! to solve the single secret of thy life's
Philosophy, thy noble madness, thy honeyed drugs,
Thy Memory and Truth that hugs
Each soul to the very arms of grim-robed Death!

Thou art remembered from the other worlds;
Perhaps been died for—or by History hurled
Through many pains, laments and secret joys:
But Time, nor Change, nor fiery Fate destroys—
Thou art conscious always—quick'ning through eternity.

Thou art a dream to deeds of man's eternal days,
Of passions peerless, and of half-glimpsed ways
To happiness. Thy reeds of joy are mine
Which pipe in flame and make thee—near-divine.
O sequestered Face—Love's deathless countenance!

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