Eight Harvard Poets/Four Sonnets from a Sonnet-Sequence

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Eight Harvard Poets
Four Sonnets from a Sonnet-Sequence
by Robert Hillyer

FOUR SONNETS FROM A SONNET-SEQUENCE


I

QUICKLY and pleasantly the seasons blow
Over the meadows of eternity,
As wave on wave the pulsings of the sea
Merge and are lost, each in the other's flow.
Time is no lover; it is only he
That is the one unconquerable foe,
He is the sudden tempest none can know,
Winged with swift winds the none may hope to flee.

Fair child of loveliness, these endless fears
Are nought to us; let us be gods of stone,
And set our images beyond the years
On some high mount where we can be alone.
And thou shalt ever be as now thou art,
And I shall watch thee with untroubled heart.

II

THEN judge me as thou wilt, I cannot flee,
I cannot turn away from thee forever,
For there are bonds that wisdom cannot sever
And slaves with souls far freer than the free.
Such strong desires the universal Giver
With unknown plan has buried deep in me
That the exquisite joy of watching thee
Has dominated all my life's endeavor.

Thou weariest of having me so near,
I feel the scorn thou hast within thy heart,
And yet thy face has never seemed so dear
As now, when I am minded to depart.
Though thou shouldst drive me hence, I love thee so
That I would watch thee when thou dost not know.

III

Fly, joyous wind, through all the wakened earth
Now when the portals of the dawn outpour
A myriad wonders from the radiant store
Of spring's deep passion and loud-ringing mirth.
Cry to the world that I despair no more,
Heart greets my heart and hope has proved its worth;
Fly where the legions of the sun have birth,
Chant everywhere and everywhere adore.

Circle the basking hills in fragrant flight,
Shout Rapture! Rapture! if sweet sorrow passes,
And whisper low in intimate delight
My love-song to the undulating grasses.
Grief is no more, love rises with the spring,
O fly, free wind, and Rapture! Rapture! sing.

IV

Long after both of us are scattered dust
And some strange souls perchance shall read of thee,
Finding the yearnings that have crushed from me
These poor confessions of my love and trust,
I know how misinterpreted will be
These lines, for men will laugh, or more unjust,
Thinking not once of love, but only lust,
Will stain the vesture of our memory.

And yet a few there may be who will feel
My deep devotion and my true desires,
And know that these unhappy words reveal
Only new images in changeless fires;
And they perchance will linger with a sigh
To think that beauty such as these must die.