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701                                                To Helen

HELEN, thy beauty is to me
   Like those Nicàean barks of yore
That gently, o’er a perfumed sea,
   The weary way-worn wanderer bore
   To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam,
   Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
   To the glory that was Greece,
And the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo, in yon brilliant window-niche
   How statue-like I see thee stand,
   The agate lamp within thy hand,
Ah! Psyche, from the regions which
   Are holy land!

702                                              For Annie

THANK Heaven! the crisis—
   The danger is past,
And the lingering illness
   Is over at last—
And the fever called ‘Living’
   Is conquer’d at last.
Sadly, I know
   I am shorn of my strength,
And no muscle I move
   As I lie at full length:
But no matter—I feel
   I am better at length.
And I rest so composedly
   Now, in my bed,
That any beholder
   Might fancy me dead—
Might start at beholding me,
   Thinking me dead.
The moaning and groaning,
   The sighing and sobbing,
Are quieted now,
   With that horrible throbbing
At heart—ah, that horrible,
   Horrible throbbing!
The sickness—the nausea—
   The pitiless pain—
Have ceased, with the fever
   That madden’d my brain—
With the fever called ‘Living’
   That burn’d in my brain.
And O! of all tortures
   That torture the worst
Has abated—the terrible
   Torture of thirst
For the naphthaline river
   Of Passion accurst—
I have drunk of a water
   That quenches all thirst.
—Of a water that flows,
   With a lullaby sound,
From a spring but a very few
   Feet under ground—
From a cavern not very far
   Down under ground.
And ah! let it never
   Be foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy,
   And narrow my bed;
For man never slept
   In a different bed—
And, to sleep, you must slumber
   In just such a bed.
My tantalized spirit
   Here blandly reposes,
Forgetting, or never
   Regretting its roses—
Its old agitations
   Of myrtles and roses:
For now, while so quietly
   Lying, it fancies
A holier odour
   About it, of pansies—
A rosemary odour,
   Commingled with pansies—
With rue and the beautiful
   Puritan pansies.
And so it lies happily,
   Bathing in many
A dream of the truth
   And the beauty of Annie—
Drown’d in a bath
   Of the tresses of Annie.
She tenderly kiss’d me,
   She fondly caress’d,
And then I fell gently
   To sleep on her breast—
Deeply to sleep
   From the heaven of her breast.
When the light was extinguish’d,
   She cover’d me warm,
And she pray’d to the angels
   To keep me from harm—
To the queen of the angels
   To shield me from harm.
And I lie so composedly,
   Now, in my bed
(Knowing her love),
   That you fancy me dead—
And I rest so contentedly,
   Now, in my bed
(With her love at my breast),
   That you fancy me dead—
That you shudder to look at me,
   Thinking me dead.
But my heart it is brighter
   Than all of the many
Stars in the sky,
   For it sparkles with Annie—
It glows with the light
   Of the love of my Annie—
With the thought of the light
   Of the eyes of my Annie.

703                                        To One in Paradise

THOU wast all that to me, love,
   For which my soul did pine—
A green isle in the sea, love,
   A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
   And all the flowers were mine.

Now all my days are trances,
   And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
   And where thy footstep gleams—
In what ethereal dances,
   By what eternal streams!


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