Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: 2. IN FRANCE: ASTARTE, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON

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THE WANDERER: 2. IN FRANCE: ASTARTE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When the latest strife is lost, and all is done with
Last Line: Mid the spirits that are passed beyond the sun.
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): France; Travel; Journeys; Trips

WHEN the latest strife is lost, and all is done with,
Ere we slumber in the spirit and the brain,
We drowse back, in dreams, to days that life begun with,
And their tender light returns to us again.

I have cast away the tangle and the torment
Of the cords that bound my life up in a mesh:
And the pulse begins to throb that long lay dormant
'Neath their pressure; and the old wounds bleed afresh.

I am touched again with shades of early sadness,
Like the summer-cloud's light shadow in my hair:
I am thrilled again with breaths of boyish gladness,
Like the scent of some last primrose on the air.

And again she comes, with all her silent graces,
The lost woman of my youth, yet unpossest:
And her cold face so unlike the other faces
Of the women whose dead lips I since have prest.

The motion and the fragrance of her garments
Seem about me, all the day long, in the room:
And her face, with its bewildering old endearments
Comes at night, between the curtains, in the gloom.

When vain dreams are stirred with sighing, near the morning,
To my own her phantom lips I feel approach:
And her smile, at eve, breaks o'er me without warning
From its speechless, pale, perpetual reproach.

When Life's dawning glimmer yet had all the tint there
Of the orient, in the freshness of the grass,
(Ah, what feet since then have trodden out the print there!)
Did her soft, her silent footsteps fall, and pass.

They fell lightly, as the dew falls, 'mid ungathered
Meadow-flowers; and lightly lingered with the dew.
But the dew is gone, the grass is dried and withered,
And the traces of those steps have faded too.

Other footsteps fall about me, -- faint, uncertain,
In the shadow of the world, as it recedes:
Other forms peer through the half-up-lifted curtain
Of that mystery which hangs behind the creeds.

What is gone, is gone forever. And new fashions
May replace old forms which nothing can restore:
But I turn from sighing back departed passions
With that pining at the bosom as of yore.

I remember to have murmured, morn and even,
"Though the Earth dispart these Earthlies, face from face,
Yet the Heavenlies shall surely join in Heaven,
For the spirit hath no bonds in time or space.

"Where it listeth, there it bloweth; all existence
Is its region; and it houseth, where it will.
I shall feel her through immeasurable distance,
And grow nearer and be gathered to her still.

"If I fail to find her out by her gold tresses,
Brows, and breast, and lips, and language of sweet strains,
I shall know her by the traces of dead kisses,
And that portion of myself which she retains."

But my being is confused with new experience,
And changed to something other than it was;
And the Future with the Past is set at variance;
And Life falters with the burthens which it has.

Earth's old sins press fast behind me, weakly wailing:
Faint before me fleets the good I have not done:
And my search for her may still be unavailing
'Mid the spirits that are passed beyond the sun.

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