Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BLANCHE LISLE: 2. TOGETHER, by AUGUSTA DAVIES WEBSTER

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

BLANCHE LISLE: 2. TOGETHER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Above the elm-capped hillock had begun
Last Line: Rich for those two, with dreams of past and new delight.
Alternate Author Name(s): Home, Cecil; Webster, Mrs. Julia Augusta

ABOVE the elm-capped hillock had begun
To fade to violet the western sky,
The crimson death-bed of the summer sun.
He looked into the darkness of her eye
Watching its changes half inquiringly,
As if the passing reveries to guess
That seemed to shape them there as they stole by,
And fathom in the pure deep loveliness
Of hazel stars, the thoughts they could so well express.

And she like a fair statue sate the while,
Watching the sunset glare grow less and less,
Watching its waning glimmer with a smile
Half sad, and yet so full of happiness,
Till he with feigned reprovings broke her dream:
"What, love, are all thy longings fixed so high!
What, all thy love gone heavenward, it would seem,
All to thy sister spirits in the sky!
Not one small thought for me,--then must I go and die!"

Oh! what a wealth of love she smiled on him.
"Ah! I was calling back past memories,
From that old time when life was lorn and dim,
They were as bright, last summer's sunset skies,
But oh! how fainter in my languid eyes;
I scarcely knew their beauty, being lone
And weary of this world that now I prize.
Ah! the long days with that long summer flown,
How like a far-off age of dreamland have they grown.

"How were they weary! And mine eyes were wet
Of mine own listlessness in very scorn,
And when I watched the slow sun westward set,
I joyed that day was o'er, and with the morn
I longed for death to come and bring again
Unconscious in the place of conscious sleep,
And hated being that seemed so in vain,
Seemed only good to slumber and to weep
And waiting heaven's rest, a weary vigil keep.

"And did not know what Autumn had in store,
That when the first red leaves dropped from the tree,
I should be weary and alone no more;
That Autumn's first sere days would bring me Thee,--
Ah! Love thou hast brought life with love to me."
"And thou to me! Oh! Blanche, my soul grows faint
In this great love that is too great for me,
Earth has no words its burning depth to paint:
Thou art my hope and heaven, I know no other saint.

"My only prayer is uttered in thy name,
I breathe it lowly at the holy shrine:
What prayer could I devise that does not frame!
My Blanche! My Blanche! 'Tis bliss to speak it, mine!
Yet promise me by all that is divine
In the high heaven; all deadly in deep hell:
That rather should dull hateful death be thine,
Than other bridegroom!" "Ah! you love not well,"
She said, "that seek to bind love's truth by needless spell."

She spoke all sadly, for to her it seemed
Her faith was better guarded by her love;
And though she would not think, yet she half dreamed
Who trusted least, least worthy trust might prove;
Yet signing the blest cross, 'gainst dread she strove,
Gave the wild promise that he wildly sought;
And theirs seemed joy, all might of doubt above,
And only traced silence voiced their thought;--
Oh! happy moments with love's happy stillness fraught!

And all the while the rose-clouds paled to grey,
And the last golden glimmer left the sky,
Dimming no more the waking star's cold ray;
At last he spoke: "Dearest, too early die
Those ruby sunset streakings from on high,
Since dying so they chase our steps away,
Yet ere we bid our solitude good bye,
I give you, as you asked of me, the lay
I made for you when turning homewards yesterday.

"Love, all my being has grown love for thee,
Love, all my heaven lightens in thine eye,
Some of my great love render back to me,
Or let me die.

"Love, all my soul is gladdened by thy smile,
Love, all my soul were anguished by thy sigh,
Oh! love me though it were but for a while,
Or let me die.

"Nay love me ever, ever while I live,
Let me have comfort in thy constancy,
Oh! for my true deep love some comfort give,
Or let me die.

"Love, ere I linger on unloved by thee,
In the forsaken grave-yard let me lie,
Love, some return of love give back to me,
Or let me die."

She wept, yet laughing said, "Wise matrons tell,
Men do not die for lady's cruelty,
And though I think indeed you love me well,
And though I hold your faithfulness full high,
Yet left I you I think you would not die;
And were our plighted contract set aside
You would grieve much I think, but live--and I--
Nay, do not gaze on me with wounded pride;
But rather hear how as you sang my heart replied:

"Since I have known thy true deep love for me,
To thy deep love, deep loving I reply,
And were the years to sever me from thee,
Then should I die.

"I love not for a while, but evermore,
Till my last day wanes in life's clouding sky,
And could my trust in thy great love be o'er,
Then should I die.

"Ah! could the promise of our plighted troth
Be marred by some now hidden destiny:
Love, it were worse than agony to both:
But I should die."

He gently chiding at her doubting mood,
They rose and loitered through the avenue,
That reached to where the gloomy mansion stood,
Behind its melancholy screen of yew,
The white moon glimmering through the cold dim blue
Of the pale eve, her crescent not yet bright,
Young silver herald stars still small and few,
Watching the coming of the silent night,
Rich for those two, with dreams of past and new delight.

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