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As the leaf upon the tree,
Fluttering, gleaming constantly,
Such a lightsome thing was she,
My gay and gentle Isabel!
Her heart was fed with love-springs sweet,
And in her face you'd see it beat
To hear the sound of welcome feet -
And were not mine so, Isabel ?
She knew it not, but she was fair,
And like a moonbeam was her hair,
That falls where flowing ripples are
In summer evenings, Isabel!
Her heart and tongue were scarce apart,
Unwittingly her lips would part,
And love came gushing from her heart,
The woman's heart of Isabel.
So pure her flesh-garb, and like dew,
That in her features glimmered through
Each working of her spirit true,
In wondrous beauty, Isabel!
A sunbeam struggling through thick leaves,
A reaper's song mid yellow sheaves,
Less gladsome were; my spirit grieves
To think of thee, mild Isabel!
I know not when I loved thee first;
Not loving, I had been accurst,
Yet, having loved, my heart will burst,
Longing for thee, dear Isabel!
With silent tears my cheeks are wet,
I would be calm, I would forget,
But thy blue eyes gaze on me yet,
When stars have risen, Isabel.
The winds mourn for thee, Isabel,
The flowers expect thee in the dell,
Thy gentle spirit loved them well,
And I for thy sake, Isabel!
The sunsets seem less lovely now
Than when, leaf checkered, on thy brow
They fell as lovingly as thou
Lingered'st till moon-rise, Isabel!
At dead of night I seem to see
Thy fair, pale features constantly
Upturned in silent prayer for me,
O'er moveless clasped hands, Isabel!
I call thee, thou dost not reply;
The stars gleam coldly on thine eye,
As like a dream thou flittest by,
And leav'st me weeping, Isabel!
With trembling shades and whirling gleams,
Many and bright,
In song and light,
Are ever, ever flowing;
While the wind, if we list to the rustling grass, Which numbers his footsteps as they pass,
Seems scarcely to be blowing;
And the far-heard voice of Spring,
From sunny slopes comes wandering,
Calling the violets from the sleep,
That bound them under snow-drifts deep,
To open their childlike, asking eyes
On the new summer's paradise,
And mingled with the gurgling waters -
As the dreamy witchery
Of Acheloüs' silver-voiced daughters
Rose and fell with the heaving sea, Whose great heart swelled with ecstasyThe song of many a floating bird,
Winding through the rifted trees, Is dreamily half-heard
A sister stream of melodies
Rippled by the flutterings
Of rapture-quivered wings.
And now beside a cataract
I lie, and through my soul,
From over me and under,
The never-ceasing thunder
Arousingly doth roll;
Through the darkness all compact,
Through the trackless sea of gloom,
Sad and deep I hear it boom;
At intervals the cloud is cracked
And a livid flash doth hiss
Downward from its floating home, Lighting up the precipice
And the never-resting foam
With a dim and ghastly glare,
Which, for a heart-beat, in the air,
Shows the sweeping shrouds
Of the midnight clouds
And their wildly-scattered hair.
Now listening to a woman's tone,
In a wood I sit alone-
Alone because our souls are one;·
All around my heart it flows,
Lulling me in deep repose;
I fear to speak, I fear to move,
Lest I should break the spell I love —
Low and gentle, calm and clear,
Into my inmost soul it goes,
As if my brother dear,
Who is no longer here,
Had bended from the sky
And murmured in my ear
A strain of that high harmony,
Which they may sing alone
Who worship round the throne.
Now in a fairy boat,
On the bright waves of song,
Full merrily I float,
Merrily float along;
My helm is veered, I care not how,
My white sail bellies over me,
And bright as gold the ripples be
That plash beneath the bow;
They feel the wind,
And they are dancing joyously. While, faintly heard, along the far-off shore The surf goes plunging with a lingering roar; Or anchored in a shadowy cove, Entranced with harmonies, Slowly I sink and rise
As the slow waves of music move.
Now softly dashing,
Faint and streamy,
Ripples into ripples melt,
Not so strongly heard as felt;
Now rapid and quick,
While the heart beats thick,
The music silver wavelets crowd,
Distinct and clear, but never loud
And now all solemnly and slow,
In mild, deep tones they warble low,
Like the glad song of angels, when
They sang good will and peace to men;
Now faintly heard and far,
As if the spirit's ears
Had caught the anthem of a star
Chanting with his brother-spheres
In the midnight dark and deep,
When the body is asleep
And wondrous shadows pour in streams
From the twofold gate of dreams;
Now onward roll the billows, swelling
With a tempest-sound of might,
As of voices doom foretelling
To the silent ear of Night;
I have drunk of the drink of immortals,
I have drunk of the life-giving wine,
And now I may pass the bright portals
That open into a realm divine!
I have drunk it through mine ears
In the ecstasy of song,
When mine eyes would fill with tears
That its life were not more long;
I have drunk it through mine eyes
In beauty's every shape,
And now around my soul it lies,
No juice of earthly grape!
Wings! wings are given to me,
I can flutter, I can rise,
Like a new life gushing through me
Sweep the heavenly harmonies!
O! I MUST look on that sweet face once more before I die; God grant that it may lighten up with joy when I draw nigh;
God grant that she may look on me as kindly as she seems In the long night, the restless night, i' the sunny land of dreams!
I hoped, I thought, she loved me once, and yet, I know not why,
There is a coldness in her speech, and a coldness in her eye. Something that in another's look would not seem cold to
And yet like ice I feel it chill the heart of memory.
She does not come to greet me so frankly as she did,
And in her utmost openness I feel there's something hid;
She almost seems to shun me, as if she thought that I
Might win her gentle heart again to feelings long gone by.