Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: 1. IN ITALY: DESIRE, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON



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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE WANDERER: 1. IN ITALY: DESIRE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The golden planet of the occident
Last Line: Go forth, across the world, and find my love!
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Italy; Travel; Italians; Journeys; Trips


THE golden Planet of the Occident
Warm from his bath comes up, i' the rosy air,
And you may tell which way the Daylight went,
Only by his last footsteps shining there:
For now he dwells
Sea-deep o' the other shore of the world,
And winds himself in the pink-mouthed shells;
Or, with his dusky, sun-dyed Priest,
Walksin the gardens of the gorgeous East;
Or hides in Indian hills; or saileth where
Floats, curiously curled,
Leagues out of sight and scent of spicy trees,
The cream-white nautilus on sapphrine seas.

But here the Night from the hill-top yonder
Steals all alone, nor yet too soon;
I have sighed for, and sought for, her; sadder and fonder
(All through the lonely and lingering noon)
Than a maiden that sits by the lattice to ponder
On vows made in vain, long since, under the moon.
Her dusky hair she hath shaken free,
And her tender eyes are wild with love;
And her balmy bosom lies bare to me.
She hath lighted the seven sweet Pleiads above,
She is breathing over the dreaming sea,
She is murmuring low in the cedar grove;
She hath put to sleep the moaning dove
In the silent cypress-tree.

And there is no voice nor whisper, --
No voice nor whisper,
In the hillside olives all at rest,
Underneath blue-lighted Hesper,
Sinking, slowly, in the liquid west:
For the night's heart knoweth best
Love by silence most exprest.
The nightingales keep mute
Each one his fairy flute,
Where the mute stars look down,
And the laurels close the green seaside:
Only one amorous lute
Twangs in the distant town,
From some lattice opened wide:
The climbing rose and vine are here, are there.
On the terrace, around, above me:
The lone Ledaean lights from yon enchanted air
Look down upon my spirit, like a spirit's eyes that love me.

How beautiful, at night, to muse on the mountain height,
Moated in purple air, and all alone!
How beautiful, at night, to look into the light
Of loving eyes, when loving lips lean down unto our own!
But there is no hand in mine, no hand in mine,
Nor any tender cheek against me prest:
O stars that o'er me shine, I pine, I pine, I pine,
With hopeless fancies hidden in an ever-hungering breast!

O where, O where is she that should be here,
The spirit my spirit dreameth?
With the passionate eyes, so deep, so dear,
Where a secret sweetness beameth?
O sleepeth she, with her soft gold hair
Streaming over the fragrant pillow,
And a rich dream glowing in her ripe cheek,
Far away, I know not where,
By lonely shores, where the tumbling billow
Sounds all night in an emerald creek?

Or doth she lean o'er the casement stone
When the day's dull noise is done with,
And the sceptred spirit remounts alone
Into her long-usurped throne,
By the stairs the stars are won with?
Hearing the white owl call
Where the river draws through the meadows below,
By the beeches brown, and the broken wall,
His silvery, seaward waters, slow
To the ocean bounding all:
With, here a star on his glowing breast,
And, there a lamp down-streaming,
And a musical motion towards the west
Where the long white cliffs are gleaming;
While, far in the moonlight, lies at rest
A great ship, asleep and dreaming?

Or doth she linger yet
Among her sisters and brothers,
In the chamber where happy faces are inet,
Distinct from all the others?
As my star up there, be it never so bright,
No other star resembles.
Doth she steal to the window, and strain her sight
(While the pearl in her warm hair trembles)
Over the dark, the distant night,
Feeling something changed in her home yet;
That old songs have lost their old delight,
And the true soul is not come yet?
Till the nearest star in sight
Is drowned in a tearful light.

I would that I were nigh her,
Wherever she rest or rove!
My spirit waves as a spiral fire
In a viewless wind doth move.
Go forth, alone, go forth, wild-winged Desire,
Thou art the bird of Jove,
That broodest lone by the Olympian throne;
And strong to bear the thunders which destroy,
Or fetch the ravisht, flute-playing Phrygian boy;
Go forth, across the world, and find my love!





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