Poems, now first collected/Souvenir de Jeunesse
SOUVENIR DE JEUNESSE
When Sibyl kept her tryst with me, the harvest moon was rounded,
In evening hush through pathways lush with fern we reached the glade;
The rippling river soft and low with fairy plashes sounded,
The silver poplar rustled as we sat within its shade.
"And why," she whispered, "evermore should lovers meet to sunder?
Where stars arise in other skies let other lips than mine
Their sorrows lisp, and other hearts at love's delaying wonder—
O stay!"—and soon her tearful eyes were each a pearly shrine.
I soothed her fears and stayed her tears, her hands in mine enfolding,
And then we cared no more for aught save this one hour we had;
Upwelled that dreamful selfish tide of young Love's rapture, holding
The fair round world itself in pledge to make us still more glad.
For us the night was musical, for us the meadows shining;
The summer air was odorous that we might breathe and love;
Sweet Nature throbbed for us alone—her mother-soul divining
No fonder pair that fleeting hour her zephyrs sighed above.
Amid the nodding rushes the heron drank his tipple,
The night-hawk's cry and whir anigh a deeper stillness made,
A thousand little starlights danced upon the river's ripple,
And the silver poplar rustled as we kissed within its shade.