Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TEST, by BAYARD TAYLOR

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE TEST, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Farewell awhile, my bonnie darling!
Last Line: "waits for the man who goes beyond!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Taylor, James Bayard
Subject(s): Death; Farewell; Kisses; Love; Dead, The; Parting

"FAREWELL awhile, my bonnie darling!
One long, close kiss, and I depart:
I hear the angry trumpet snarling,
The drum-beat tingles at my heart."

Behind him, softest flutes were breathing,
Across the vale their sweet recall;
Before him burst the battle, seething
In flame beneath its thunder-pall.

All sights and sounds to stay invited;
The meadows tossed their foam of flowers;
The lingering Day beheld, delighted,
The dances of his amorous Hours.

He paused: again the foul temptation
Assailed his heart, so firm before,
And tender dreams, of Love's creation,
Persuaded from the peaceful shore.

"But no!" he sternly cried; "I follow
The trumpet, not the shepherd's reed
Let idlers pipe in pastoral hollow, --
Be mine the sword, and mine the deed

"Farewell to Love!" he murmured sighing:
"Perchance I lose what most is dear
But better there, struck down and dying,
Than be a man and wanton here!"

He went where battle's voice was loudest;
He pressed where danger nearest came;
His hand advanced, among the proudest,
Their banner through the lines of flame.

And there, when wearied Carnage faltered
He, foremost of the fallen, lay,
While Night looked down with brow unaltered,
And breathed the battle's dust away.

There lying, sore from wounds untended,
A vision crossed the starry gleam:
The girl he loved beside him bended,
And kissed him in his fever-dream.

"O love!" she cried, "you fled, to find me;
I left with you the daisied vale;
I turned from flutes that wailed behind me,
To hear your trumpet's distant hail.

"Your tender vows, your peaceful kisses,
They scarce outlived the moment's breath;
But now we clasp immortal blisses
Of Passion proved on brinks of Death!

"No fate henceforward shall estrange her
Who finds a heart more brave than fond;
For Love, forsook this side of danger,
Waits for the man who goes beyond!"

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