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

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THE WANDERER: 1. IN ITALY: ONCE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A falling star that shot across
Last Line: "but ever love is love forever!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Italy; Love - Nature Of; Travel; Italians; Journeys; Trips

A FALLING star that shot across
The intricate and twinkling dark
Vanisht, yet left no sense of loss
Throughout the wide ethereal arc

Of those serene and solemn skies
That round the dusky prospect rose,
And ever seemed to rise, and rise,
Through regions of unreached repose.

Far, on the windless mountain-range,
One crimson sparklet died: the blue
Flushed with a brilliance, faint and strange,
The ghost of daylight, dying too.

But half-revealed, each terrace urn
Glimmered, where now, in filmy flight,
We watched return, and still return,
The blind bats searching air for sight.

With sullen fits of fleeting sound,
Borne half asleep on slumbrous air,
The drowsy beetle hummed around,
And passed, and oft repassed us, there;

Where, hand in hand, our looks alight
With thoughts our pale lips left untold,
We sat, in that delicious night,
On that dim terrace, green and old.

Deep down, far off, the city lay,
When forth from all its spires was swept
A music o'er our souls; and they
To music's music's midmost meanings leapt;

And, crushing some delirious cry
Against each other's lips, we clung
Together silent, while the sky
Throbbing with sound around us hung:

For, borne from bells on music soft,
That solemn hour went forth through heaven,
To stir the starry airs aloft,
And thrill the purple pulse of even.

O happy hush of heart to heart!
O moment molten through with bliss!
O Love, delaying long to part
That first, fast, individual kiss!

Whereon two lives on glowing lips
Hung claspt, each feeling fold in fold,
Like daisies closed with crimson tips,
That sleep about a heart of gold.

Was it some drowsy rose that moved?
Some dreaming dove's pathetic moan?
Or was it my name from lips beloved?
And was it thy sweet breath, mine own.

That made me feel the tides of sense
O'er life's low levels rise with might,
And pour my being down the immense
Shore of some mystic Infinite?

"O, have I found thee, my soul's soul?
My chosen forth from time and space!
And did we then break earth's control?
And have I seen thee face to face?

"Close, closer to thy home, my breast,
Closer thy darling arms enfold!
I need such warmth, for else the rest
Of life will freeze me dead with cold.

"Long was the search, the effort long,
Ere I compelled thee from thy sphere,
I know not with what mystic song,
I know not with what nightly tear:

"But thou art here, beneath whose eyes
My passion falters, even as some
Pale wizard's taper sinks, and dies,
When to his spell a spirit is come.

"My brow is pale with much of pain:
Though I am young, my youth is gone,
And, shouldst thou leave me lone again,
I think I could not live alone.

"As some idea, half divined,
With tumult works within the brain
Of desolate genius, and the mind
Is vassal to imperious pain,

"For toil by day, for tears by night,
Till, in the sphere of vision brought,
Rises the beautiful and bright
Predestined, but relentless Thought;

"So, gathering up the dreams of years,
Thy love doth to its destined seat
Rise sovran, through the light of tears --
Achieved, accomplisht, and complete!

"I fear not now lest any hour
Should chill the lips my own have prest;
For I possess thee by the power
Whereby I am myself possest.

"These eyes must lose their guiding light:
These lips from thine, I know, must sever:
O looks and lips may disunite,
But ever love is love forever!"

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