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Dolores by Emma Lazarus

 

A light at her feet and a light at her head,

How fast asleep my Dolores lies!

Awaken, my love, for to-morrow we wed—

Uplift the lids of thy beautiful eyes.

Too soon art thou clad in white, my spouse:

Who placed that garland above thy heart

Which shall wreathe to-morrow thy bridal brows?

How quiet and mute and strange thou art!

And hearest thou not my voice that speaks?

And feelest thou not my hot tears flow

As I kiss thine eyes and thy lips and thy cheeks?

Do they not warm thee, my bride of snow?

Thou knowest no grief, though thy love may weep.

A phantom smile, with a faint, wan beam,

Is fixed on thy features sealed in sleep:

Oh tell me the secret bliss of thy dream.

Does it lead to fair meadows with flowering trees,

Where thy sister-angels hail thee their own?

Was not my love to thee dearer than these?

Thine was my world and my heaven in one.

I dare not call thee aloud, nor cry,

Thou art so solemn, so rapt in rest,

But I will whisper: Dolores, 'tis I:

My heart is breaking within my breast.

Never ere now did I speak thy name,

Itself a caress, but the lovelight leapt

Into thine eyes with a kindling flame,

And a ripple of rose o'er thy soft cheek crept.

But now wilt thou stir not for passion or prayer,

And makest no sign of the lips or the eyes,

With a nun's strait band o'er thy bright black hair—

Blind to mine anguish and deaf to my cries.

I stand no more in the waxen-lit room:

I see thee again as I saw thee that day,

In a world of sunshine and springtide bloom,

'Midst the green and white of the budding May.

Now shadow, now shine, as the branches ope,

Flickereth over my love the while:

From her sunny eyes gleams the May-time hope,

And her pure lips dawn in a wistful smile.

As one who waiteth I see her stand,

Who waits though she knows not what nor whom,

With a lilac spray in her slim soft hand:

All the air is sweet with its spicy bloom.

I knew not her secret, though she held mine:

In that golden hour did we each confess;

And her low voice murmured, Yea, I am thine,

And the large world rang with my happiness.

To-morrow shall be the blessedest day

That ever the all-seeing sun espied:

Though thou sleep till the morning's earliest ray,

Yet then thou must waken to be my bride.

Yea, waken, my love, for to-morrow we wed:

Uplift the lids of thy beautiful eyes.

A light at her feet and a light at her head,

How fast asleep my Dolores lies!

EMMA LAZARUS.