Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NAENIAE, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON



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NAENIAE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Soft, soft be thy sleep in the land of the west
Last Line: But more loved, ...O, how few, love!
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Switzerland; Travel; Swiss; Journeys; Trips


SOFT, soft be thy sleep in the land of the West,
Fated maiden!
Fair lie the flowers, love, and light, on thy breast
Passion-laden,
In the place where thou art, by the storm-beaten strand
Of the moaning Atlantic,
While, alone with my sorrow, I roam through thy land,
The beloved, the romantic!
And thy faults, child, sleep where in those dark eyes Death closes
All their doings and undoings;
For who counts the thorns on last year's perisht roses?
Smile, dead rose, in thy ruins!
With thy beauty, its frailty is over. No token
Of all which thou wast!
Not so much as the stem whence the blossom was broken
Hath been spared by the frost.
With thy lips, and thine eyes, and thy long golden tresses,
Cold ... and so young too!
All lost, like the sweetness which died with our kisses,
On the lips we once clung to.
Be it so! O too loved, and too lovely, to linger
Where Age in its bareness
Creeps slowly, and Time with his terrible finger
Effaces all fairness.
Thy being was but beauty, thy life only rapture,
And, ere both were over,
Or yet one delight had escaped from thy capture,
Death came, -- thy last lover,
And found thee, ... no care on thy brow, in thy tresses
No silver -- all gold there!
On thy lips, when he kissed them, their last human kisses
Had scarcely grown cold there.
Thine was only earth's joy, not its sorrow, its sinning,
Its friends that are foes too.
O, fair was thy life in its lovely beginning,
And fair in its close too!
But I? ... since we parted, both mournful and many
Life's changes have been to me:
And of all the love-garlands Youth wove me, not any
Remain that are green to me.
O, where are the nights, with thy touch and thy breath in them,
Faint with heart-beating?
The fragrance, the darkness, the life and the death in them,
-- Parting and meeting?
All the world ours in that hour! ... O, the silence,
The moonlight, and, far in it,
O, the one nightingale singing a mile hence!
The oped window -- one star in it!
Sole witness of stolen sweet moments, unguest of
By the world in its primness; --
Just one smile to adore by the starlight: the rest of
Thy soul in the dimness!
If I glide through the door of thy chamber, and sit there,
The old, faint, uncertain
Fragrance, that followed thee, surely will flit there, --
O'er the chairs, -- in the curtain: --
But thou? ... O thou missed, and thou mourned one! O never,
Nevermore, shall we rove
Through chamber, or garden, or by the dark river
Soft lamps burn above!
O dead, child, dead, dead -- all the shrunken romance
Of the dream life begun with!
But thou, love, canst alter no more -- smile or glance;
Thy last change is done with.
As a moon that is sunken, a sunset that 's o'er,
So thy face keeps the semblance
Of the last look of love, the last grace that it wore,
In my mourning remembrance.
As a strain from the last of thy songs, when we parted,
Whose echoes thrill yet,
Through the long dreamless nights of sad years, lonely-hearted,
With their haunting regret, --
Though nerveless the hand now, and shattered the lute too,
Once vocal for me,
There floats through life's ruins, when all's dark and mute too,
The music of thee!
Beauty, how brief! Life, how long! ...well, love's done now!
Down the path fate arranged for me
I tread faster, because I must tread it alone now.
-- This is all that is changed for me.
My heart must have broken, ere I broke the fetter
Thyself didst undo, love.
-- Ah, there 's many a purer, and many a better,
But more loved, ...O, how few, love!





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