After - Atlantic
Oh, I forgot that, long ago!
It was very fine at the time, no doubt,—
Remembering is so hard, you know;—
Well, you will one day find it out.
I love the life of the happy flowers,
But I hate the brown and crumbling leaves;
You cannot with spices embalm the hours,
Nor gather the sunshine into sheaves.
We are older now, and wiser, too.
Only two summers ago, you say,
Two autumns, two winters, two springs, since you——
Will you hold for a moment my bouquet?
Yes,—take that sprig of mignonette;
It will wither with you as it would with me:
Freshness and sweetness a half-hour yet,
Then a toss of the hand, and one is free.
Why will you talk of such silly things?—
What a pretty bride! Do you like her hair?
See Madam there, with her twenty rings.
Ogling the youth with the foreign air!—
The moon was bright and the winds were low,
The lilies bent listening to what we said?
I did not make your lilies grow;
Will they bloom for me now they are dead?
You hate the rooms and the heartless hum,
The thick perfumes and the studied smile?
'Tis the air I love to breathe,—yet come,
I will watch the stars with you awhile;
But you won't talk nonsense, you promise me?
Tear from the book the page we read;
We are friends,—dear friends. You must come and see
My new home, and soon.—What was it you said?
Heartsick, and weary, and sad, and strange,—
Ashes and dust where swept the fire?
I am sorry for you, but I cannot change.—
Did you see that star fall from the Lyre?
A moment's gleam, and a deeper night
Closing around its wandering way:
But then there are other orbs as bright;
Let your incense burn to them, I pray.
Oh, conjure your mighty manhood up!
Let it blaze its best in your flashing eyes!
Can it stare my womanhood down, or hope
To scorch my pride till it droops and dies?—
There, do not be angry;—take my hand;
Forgive me;—I meant not anything:
I am foolish, and cannot understand
Why you throw life out for one dumb string.
Sweeter its music than all the rest?
It may be so, though I cannot tell;
But take the good when you lose the best,
And school yourself till it seems as well.
Love may pass by, but here is fame,
And wealth, and power;—when these are gone,
God is left,—and the altar-flame
May, brightening ever, burn on and on.
And yet to my heart at times there come
Tidings of lands I shall never see,
Sweet odors, and wooing winds, and hum
Of bees in the fields that are far from me,—
Far fields, and skies that are always fair;
And I dream the old dreams of heaven, and you.—
But here comes the youth of the foreign air.
I will dance and forget,—and you must, too.