The song of the bower (Dante Gabriel Rossetti)

The song of the bower (1860)
by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
582187The song of the bower1860Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Say, is it day, is it dusk in thy bower,
  Thou whom I long for, who longest for me?
Oh! be it light, be it night, 'tis Love's hour,
  Love's that is fettered as Love's that is free.
Free Love has leaped to that innermost chamber,
  Oh! the last time, and the hundred before:
Fettered Love, motionless, can but remember,
  Yet something that sighs from him passes the door.

Nay, but my heart when it flies to thy bower,
  What does it find there that knows it again?
There it must droop like a shower-beaten flower,
  Red at the rent core and dark with the rain.
Ah! yet what shelter is still shed above it, —
  What waters still image its leaves torn apart?
Thy soul is the shade that clings round it to love it,
  And tears are its mirror deep down in thy heart.

What were my prize, could I enter thy bower,
  This day, to-morrow, at eve or at morn?
Large lovely arms and a neck like a tower,
  Bosom then heaving that now lies forlorn.
Kindled with love-breath, (the sun's kiss is colder!)
  Thy sweetness all near me, so distant to-day;
My hand round thy neck and thy hand on my shoulder,
  My mouth to thy mouth as the world melts away.

What is it keeps me afar from thy bower, —
  My spirit, my body, so fain to be there?
Waters engulfing or fires that devour? —
  Earth heaped against me or death in the air?
Nay, but in day-dreams, for terror, for pity,
  The trees wave their heads with an omen to tell;
Nay, but in night-dreams, throughout the dark city,
  The hours, clashed together, lose count in the bell.

Shall I not one day remember thy bower,
  One day when all days are one day to me? —
Thinking, ‘I stirred not, and yet had the power!’ —
  Yearning, ‘Ah God, if again it might be!’
Peace, peace! such a small lamp illumes, on this highway,
  So dimly so few steps in front of my feet, —
Yet shows me that her way is parted from my way...
  Out of sight, beyond light, at what goal may we meet?

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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