The Bengali Book of English Verse/The Garden Passion (Manmohan Ghose)

The Garden Passion.

It is a garden, shy and sweet,
For youth and tongue-tied passion meet;
A green dim garden shaded deep,
Breathing of lilies, love, and sleep.
Here only flowers in darkness grow;
Here only whispering waters flow,
And fishes glide, and linnets sing,
And Summer dances with the Spring,
And here in evenings gradual gloom
Have Julian and Irene come.

Speechless they stand beneath the shade
The burning youth, the lovely maid.
Bashfully droop'd the lashes sheathe
The splendour of her eyes beneath;
And o'er her cheek and brow of snow
The virgin roses come and go.
His heart too strong, his tongue too weak,
Only his lustrous eyes can speak;
And they seem all one pent desire
An incommunicable fire!

Conscious of that impassioned gaze
She turns away her glowing face

As though too rich a joy and shame
In that deep crimson mantling came.
And with averted cheek and hands
Folded one rapturous moment stands.
Empresslike she smiles, and fain
Would linger o'er his gorgeous pain.
But ah! that passion-eaten look
Her gentle bosom cannot brook.
Tears start into her eyes: she turns
With shining eyes, and cheek that burns.
Love and reluctant maidenhood
Her heart impelled, her heart withstood,
A rosy strife; but soon that glow
Of shame she checks, and, tranquil now,
Raising her soft-fringed eyelids dim,
Bends full her starry gaze on him.

O what a heaven, what land unknown
To Julian's happy sight is shown!
To all his agonies, all his sighs
What opening, sudden paradise!
Abandoned to that glorious gaze,
A moment in sweet dread he stays:
That gaze of speechless amethyst,
Its meaning, could it e'er be missed?
He takes her hand inflamed with bliss,
Her willing, trembling hand in his;
And in glad tears she hides her face
Lock'd in his passionate embrace.

To his her darling cheek is prest,
Against her own his fever'd breast;
Love gleams from her eyes into his
In answer to each glowing kiss.
And while a smile, a sigh there springs,
Kisses and tears,—sweet idle things,

Things dearer than the world is worth,
In speech their brimming hearts break forth
Words that with ravishing music pierce
Each other's hearts, each other's ears.
Hers are dim murmurs, his a voice
That makes the silent air rejoice.

Health glows upon their cheeks, its flood
Courses impetuous in their blood;
They feel like some absorbing truth
The fulness of their godlike youth,
Its strength, its beauty, its delight
O'erflows their bosoms, fills their sight.
And all this garden, all this glade,
Water and wind and flower and shade,
The leaves that sigh, the bird that sings
Seem one ambrosial chain of things,
One happy whole, where they are parts.
It is the fragrance of their hearts
That the rose breathes: the water's sound
Answers a feeling near, profound,
And flashing, eddying fast and bright
It leaps with their own heart's delight.
Those spheres of solemn light on high
Shine but in glorious sympathy,
And heaven seems for no other end
Spread there, but over them to bend.
Theirs is the pomp, theirs is the power
Of Nature in this sovereign hour.
For them the balmy woodlands show
Their virgin wealth: the hyacinths grow
For them, for them the nightingale
Tells all her rich melodious tale.
Earth seems one flowery empire green
And they its happy king and queen.