Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE CALL OF THE COUNTRY, by CHARLES V. H. ROBERTS
First Line: Oh, my beloved! Death laughs here in rome
Last Line: But only wanderwander to eternal peace.
Subject(s): Patriotism; Rome, Italy
Oh, my Beloved! Death laughs here in Rome:
A pestilent malady is in the summer's air.
Keep close this warningof the grieving mist
And crimson snare of Death. Thy home
Is in the Country, the hills of melting amethyst.
Beyond these festering streets are fragrant fields
Powdered with buttercups and shyer things.
Hide thee there, in the silvery breeze swayed grass,
Where meadow larks trill high on fluttering wings;
Or into the wood's dark fringe, where a cuckoo's call
Darts like an arrow through the orange trees.
How lone and cool his notenow faint and far
Beyond the chorused humming of the bees.
Beloved! Thou art my soul's idolatry,
Its dreamful ease, its beauty and all its radiance.
Leave Rome! Thy heart-strings murmur for the country,
For streams that wind and wave, for shadows that glance
And glide in gardens dark'ning for love's mystery.
Thou wert not born as other women are,
But in swoons conceived by some immortal star.
Ire and danger fill the city's breath,
Each street a vein embalmeda scar
In anguish. Be not tempted by the grail of Death.
There's no contagion in the whispering fairyed grass
Where Nature blows on his pipes of reeds with Pan's own glee,
In love-enraptured tune. If thou wouldst see
The roses bloom again, the stars e'er shine,
The foam-bells sparkle on the waves,
Then hasten to the countryand in time;
To fields of blossomed trees, past little shrine
Where crumbled stones proclaim a golden past.
From o'er our villa, clouds will sail across the sky
And the colour of the evening pigment take,
The green of lemon trees, and fragrant spice,
Fair olive groves, the halls of twice
One thousand years, and a lily lake,
A flinging beam, a twilight hedge, thou and I.
Sun like a red pomegranate! The city's eyes are sulphurous.
Go, Beloved! All here is dolorous:
There pure water gleams, whose fringes we will tread;
Pagodas gilded, where faint dreams entice
The sweetest rites of love to sanctify;
Silver rays a-glimmer o'er our bridal bed,
With dimming eyesas candles clearthy heart to sate
The yielding spirit action we'll partake.
At last thou art amid these sacred groves,
These woods and wilds and musical retreats:
No more the city and its pall of Death;
All there is dismal as the Shades beneath.
Across these mellow fields the Muses sang;
Still revellers danced; great rhapsodies of Love were heard
The bloom of secret dawn and sweet repose,
The stream's clear flow, the call of mating bird.
We accept the perfect stillness of the ground,
And the vision of a sunset-saffroned sea.
Our lives shall be the history of a rose,
Each day a petal in a sweeter bliss;
And when like leaves, they turn to braken gold
Where waves the grass and prostrate legions old
No name but thine shall on these barks be found,
To glad the earth and gild the evening sky.
Breathe on my burning lips thy softest words,
Thy love into my soul and every vital part,
Thy thoughts, thy melody and all thy joy,
Until thou hast assuaged my yearning heart.
Thus we, Belovedso having beenshall never cease,
But only wanderwander to eternal peace.
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