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A CHOPIN FANTASY (ON REMEMBRANCE OF A PRELUDE), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Come, love, sit here and let us leave awhile
Last Line: Knowing 't was death that passed, and oh, how near!
Subject(s): Chopin, Frederic Francois (1810-1849)

COME, love, sit here and let us leave awhile
This custom-laden world for warmer lands
Where, 'neath the silken net of afternoon,
Leisure is duty and dread care a dream.

(The music begins)

That cliff's Minorca, Minorca, that horizon Spain.
There in the west, like fragrance visible,
Rises the soft light as the sun goes down
Till half the sky is palpitant with gold.
Follow it eastward to the gentle blue,
With faith and childhood in it, and the peace
Men agonize and roam for. See that fleet
That flutters in the breeze from the Camargue
Like white doves, huddled now, now scattering.
(They say all native boats are homeward bound
Against to-morrow's annual festival.)
What rest there is in looking from this height
On palms and olives, and the easy steps
By which the terrace clambers yonder hill!
How dark those hollows whence the roads of white
Ascend in angles to the high-perched town!
Needless the music of the convent bell:
'T is vespers in the heart as in the air.
This is the hour for love, that, like the breath
Of yonder orange, sweetest is at eve.
Here, safe entwined, what could be wished for two
Hid in an island hidden in the sea?
Now let me lay my head upon your lap,
And place your rose-leaf fingers on my lids,
Lest, catching glimpse of your resplendent eyes,
My ardor should blaspheme the coming stars!

How fast it darkens! One must needs be blind
To know the twilight softness of your voice.
And Love, -- not blind, but with a curtained sight, --
Like one who dwells with Sorrow, can discern
The shading of a shadow in a tone.
There 's something troubles you, my sweet-of-hearts.
A hesitance in that caressing word;
Nothing unhappy -- a presentiment
Such as from far might thrill the under-depths
Of some still tranquil lake before a storm.
Be happy, love, not ponder happiness.
Unerringly I know your woman's soul,
Content to have your happiness put off
Like well-planned feast against to-morrow's need,
And more enjoyed in planning than in use.
But oh, we men, God made us -- what was that?
A drop upon your hand? Perhaps a tear
Lost by an angel who remembers yet
Some perfect moment of th' imperfect world,
And goes reluctantly her way to heaven,
Still envious of our lot? Another drop!
Why, 't is the rain. Stand here and see that sky --
Blackness intense as sunlight. What a chasm
Of silver where that lightning tore its way!
That crash was nearer! Here 's our shelter -- quick!
Now it's upon us! Half a breath, and -- there!
No wonder you should tremble when the earth
Sways thus and all the firmament's a-reel.
Tremble, but fear not -- Love created Fear
To drive men back to Love, where you are now.
What rhythmic terror in the tideless sea
That wildly seeks the refuge of the rocks
From unknown dangers (dangers known are none)!
God! did you see within the headlands' jaws
That drifting sail? Wait the next flash and -- look!
Oh, heaven! to cruise about a hundred coasts,
Safe past the fabled monsters of the deep,
To break supinely on familiar shoals
Where one in childhood digged a mimic grave!

Thank God for those few, momentary stars,
And that slow-lifting zone of topaz light,
Like parting guest returning with a smile.
We care not now that the insatiate storm
Plunges with leaps of thunder on the east.

(The music ceases)

Give me thy hand, dear one, though unto pain
I crush it to be sure that this be dream,
Knowing 't was Death that passed, and oh, how near!

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