Poems, now first collected/Martinique Idyl

New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, pages 192–195


Love, the winds long to lure you to their home,
To tempt you on beneath the northern arch!
There, in the swift, bright summer, you and I
May loiter where the elms' deep shadows lie;
There, by our household fire, bid Yule-tide come,
And winter's cold, and every gust of March.

Stay, O stay with me here, and chasten
Your heart still longing to wander more!
Ever the restless winds are winging,
But the white-plumed egrets, skyward-springing,
Over our blue sea hover, and hasten
To light anew on their own dear shore.

The lips grow tired of honey, the cloyed ear
Of music, and of light the eyelids tire.
I weary of the sky's eternal balm,
The ceaseless droop and rustle of the palm;
Only your whisper, love, constrains me here
From that brave clime I would you might desire.

Cold, ah, cold is the sky, and leaden,
There where earth rounds off to the pole!
Still by kisses the moments number,—
Here are sweetness, and rest, and slumber,
All to lighten and naught to deaden
The heart's low murmur, the captured soul.

Dear, I would have you yearn, amid these sweets,
For the clear breeze that blows from waters gray,—
For some fresh, northern hill-top, overgrown
With bush and bloom and brake to you unknown;
There, while the hidden thrush his song repeats,
The rose shall tinge your cheek the livelong day.

Stay in the clime where living is loving
And the lips make music unaware;
Where copses thrill with the wood-doves' cooing,
And astral moths on the flight are wooing;
While the light colibris poise unmoving,—
Winged Loves that mate in the trembling air.

Nay, love itself will languish in the days
When Summer never doffs his burning helm.
No lasting links to bind the soul are wrought
Where passion takes no deeper cast from thought;
Ah! lend your ear a moment to the lays
Our poets sing you of a trustier realm!

Under the cocoa-fronds that flutter,
Here, where the lush white trumpet-flower
And the curled lianas roof us over,
So that no evil thing discover
The sighs we mingle, the words we utter,—
Here, oh here, let us make our bower!

Love is not perfect, sweet, that like a dream
Flows on without a forecast or a pain;
Some burden must betide to make it strong,
Some toil, to make its briefest bliss seem long,—
Ay, longer than the crossing of a stream
Mist-haunted, lit by moons that surely wane.

Here, for a round of moons unbroken,
A spell that holds shall your loss requite;
The fleet, sweet moments shall pass unreckoned
And all to our constant love be second,
And the fragrant lily shall be our token,
That folds itself on the waves at night.

Yonder, or here, and whether summer's star
Burn overhead, or rains of autumn fall!

Or snows of winter in the frozen North?

Love, never doubt it!

Take me with you forth!
And oh, forget not in that land afar,
I am your summer,—you, my life, my all!