Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: 2. IN FRANCE: A L'ENTRESOL, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON



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THE WANDERER: 2. IN FRANCE: A L'ENTRESOL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: One circle of all its golden hours
Last Line: And the ghost of a dream I dreamed!
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): France; Travel; Journeys; Trips


ONE circle of all its golden hours
The flitting hand of the Time-piece there,
In its close white bower of china flowers,
Hath rounded unaware:

While the firelight, flung from the flickering wall
On the large and limpid mirror behind,
Hath reddened and darkened down o'er all,
As the fire itself declined.

Something of pleasure and something of pain
There lived in that sinking light. What is it?
Faces I never shall look at again,
In places you never will visit,

Revealed themselves in each faltering ember,
While, under a palely wavering flame,
Half of the years life aches to remember
Reappeared, and died as they came.

To its dark Forever an hour hath gone
Since either you or I have spoken:
Each of us might have been sitting alone
In a silence so unbroken.

I never shall know what made me look up
(In this cushioned chair so soft and deep,
By the table where, over the empty cup,
I was leaning, half asleep)

To catch a gleam on the picture up there
Of the saint in the wilderness under the oak;
And a light on the brow of the bronze Voltaire,
Like the ghost of a cynical joke.

To mark, in each violet velvet fold
Of the curtains that fall 'twixt room and room,
The dip and dance of the manifold
Shadows of rosy gloom.

O'er the Rembrandt there -- the Caracci here --
Flutter warmly the ruddy and wavering hues;
And St. Anthony over his book has a leer
At the little French beauty by Greuze.

There, -- the Leda, weighed over her white swan's back,
By the weight of her passionate kiss, ere it falls;
O'er the ebony cabinet, glittering black
Through its ivory cups and balls:

Your scissors and thimble, and work laid away,
With its silks, in the scented rosewood box;
The journals, that tell truth every day,
And that novel of Paul de Kock's:

The flowers in the vase, with their bells shut close
In a dream of the far green fields where they grew;
The cards of the visiting people and shows
In that bowl with the sea-green hue.

Your shawl, with a queenly droop of its own,
Hanging over the arm of the crimson chair:
And, last, -- yourself, as silent as stone,
In a glow of the firelight there!

I thought you were reading all this time.
And was it some wonderful page of your book
Telling of love, with its glory and crime,
That has left you that sorrowful look?

For a tear from those dark, deep, humid orbs
'Neath their lashes, so long, and soft, and sleek,
All the light in your lustrous eyes absorbs,
As it trembles over your cheek.

Were you thinking how we, sitting side by side,
Might be dreaming miles and miles apart?
Or if lips could meet over a gulf so wide
As separates heart from heart?

Ah, well! when time is flown, how it fled
It is better neither to ask nor tell.
Leave the dead moments to bury their dead.
Let us kiss and break the spell!

Come, arm in arm, to the window here;
Draw by the thick curtain, and see how, to-night,
In the clear and frosty atmosphere,
The lamps are burning bright.

All night, and forever, in yon great town,
The heaving Boulevart flares and roars;
And the streaming Life flows up and down
From its hundred open doors.

It is scarcely so cold, but I and you,
With never a friend to find us out,
May stare at the shops for a moment or two,
And wander awhile about.

For when in the crowd we have taken our place,
(-- Just two more lives to the mighty street there!)
Knowing no single form or face
Of the men and women we meet there, --

Knowing, and known of, none in the whole
Of that crowd all round, but our two selves only,
We shall grow nearer, soul to soul,
Until we feel less lonely.

Here are your bonnet and gloves, dear. There, --
How stately you look in that long rich shawl!
Put back your beautiful golden hair,
That never a curl may fall.

Stand in the firelight...so, ...as you were, --
O my heart, how fearfully like her she seemed!
Hide me up from my own despair,
And the ghost of a dream I dreamed!





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