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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE VISION OF EVE, by                    
First Line: Three years their leaves on eden's smirch had shed
Last Line: Two streams of gold o'er thee their radiance threw.
Subject(s): Adam & Eve; Bible; Eden; God; Love; Women; Eve


THREE years their leaves on Eden's smirch had shed;
Strode Adam through the forests verdant-wreathed,
Alert for pard or lightfoot buck that fled,
Yet quiet as the grass, whose tang he breathed.

And Eve, serene in radiant nakedness,
On shaded marge of immemorial rill,
Scarce heard two babes in frolic for the press
Of echoing cries that leapt from hill to hill.

"Sing, cherub host, my love, my beautiful!"
Said Adam to the birds; "Sing, joyous choir!"
"Pour, Spring," said Eve, "thy waters fresh and cool.
My soul is his, but theirs my bosom's fire."


"Lord God," she plained, "from Eden we are driven;
The archangel walls our paradise with flame
And, roused by hunger's pangs, by sadness riven,
Desire at dawn our primal peace must claim.

"O Master, in these glooms we have no more,
As heretofore, the unsullied ecstasy.
No more we hear the angelic anthem soar
From lips that laud Thy love unceasingly.

"Yet night may not ensnare or net with dark
If still a torch awake the spectral day.
O Father all benignant, if Love's arc
Encircle us, take not Thy peace away.

"My beauty blooms beside his tower of might;
The Yea and Nay unite us and console.
He basks him in my grace; I in his height,
And Love transforms each load to aureole.

"As virgin flowers these twain by us have grown
And, born of us, in them our joy was born.
Whenas my glowing knees these babes enthrone
Within my bosom burns the sun of morn.

"In us they live again and we in them;
Wonder begetteth wonder; theirs the law
That ties again our bonds; the diadem,
Wherewith they crown us, Ah, whose eyes foresaw?

"And, clearer than the cressets of the sky,
Their witching eyes suck in the enchanted soul,
Which through the beam mysterious doth espy
The unknown infancy Creation stole.

"In them by Love created Love doth dwell,
And though when heaven chide we chafe and moan,
Yet shall they lift their hands and Asrael
With lightnings shall not turn their hearts to stone.

"Glory, O Lord, to Thee, afar yet near,
The chastisement is sweet if, 'spite the curse,
The kiss that sweetened Eden ripen here;
Thy blow to love shall wake the universe."


Thus Eve, morn-redolent and wonder-ta'en,
With breasts that brimmed with warmth maternal-wise,
The while she gazed on Abel and on Cain
Felt all heaven's tide of azure veil her eyes.


While still they seemed as playing lambs in cote,
One morn the elder rose, enflamed by hate,
And with a sudden fist his brother smote,
Who cried to Eve, with fear importunate.

She ran to them, grief-drenched and horror-pale,
And with swift arms engirt them to her breast,
And o'er her heart, as in a peaceful vale,
With kisses lulled to calm the babes' unrest.

Soon quiet quenched the fury, fear and grief.
Their arms entwined, they smiled, by sleep made whole;
And Eve, immobile as a fallen leaf,
Beheld the future liquefy her soul.


O Eden's Sun, with lovelocks looped with gold,
Eve of the Sin, the unguessed Glory, thou,
The eternal sigh we breathe as breathed of old,
Ineffable chalice! Cup for Grief enow!

O Woman, who dost now embosom heaven,
To him who lost his heaven thou hast outpoured
Thy faith, thy splendour, all thy heart doth leaven,
Lovelier than loveliness beneath the sword.

Mother compassionate, what hideous fear
Froze life within thee in that tortured hour?
What terrible lightning was its charioteer?
And what the thought that drowned thy vision's flower?

In sleeping Cain's clenched fingers did'st thou read
The oracle to the questing of thy cry?
Did'st thou behold fair Abel's forehead bleed
And see his foe in him who slept thereby?

Did Asrael limn upon the future's face
This son, as reeking murderer in flight,
Blood-dabbled, and upon the hilltop trace
A corpse beneath the first red flecks of night?

Did'st thou behold his sin in Enoch die,
Enoch, the cliff that stemmed the blasphemous flood
Of curses that did adamant defy,
Surged by the world that damned itself with blood?

Mother of Man, did'st thou see Malice link
The hosts of Discord, jackal-slinking, till
The iron had sated earth with crimson drink
And twilight flushed the cloud of them that kill?

Till, serried on thy sight, came hosts of Cain,
All ravening, Abel's innocents to oppose
And tide of tears from Babels burst amain
And groans were choked by avalanche of blows?

Beneath the insoluble mist, where impious Man
Herds e'er, with fears that watch his heritage,
Eve, did'st thou hear the cries of clan 'gainst clan
And jealous shouts that rived from age to age?

And did'st thou know that evil had been born
For all eternity; that human Hate
Would dedicate thy sons to Satan's scorn,
Unceasingly Gehenna's sloughs to sate?

Hence was not life a cruel gift to thee?
To know that Age must shear Love's locks becurled;
That floods of galled tears must swell the sea,
Born of thy smile, O Eve, to swamp the world?


When thou wert gazing on thine infants' charms,
Upon that evening, yea, the same -- God knew;
And, whilst they slept oblivious in thine arms,
Two streams of gold o'er thee their radiance threw.

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