Poems of Passion/"The Beautiful Blue Danube"

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Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
"The Beautiful Blue Danube"

They drift down the hall together;
       He smiles in her lifted eyes;
Like waves of that mighty river,
       The strains of the "Danube" rise.

They float on its rhythmic measure
       Like leaves on a summer-stream;
And here, in this scene of pleasure,
       I bury my sweet, dead dream.

Through the cloud of her dusky tresses,
       Like a star, shines out her face,
And the form his strong arm presses
       Is sylph like in its grace.

As a leaf on the bounding river
       Is lost in the seething sea,
I know that forever and ever
       My dream is lost to me.

And still the viols are playing
       That grand old wordless rhyme;
And still those two ate swaying
       In perfect tune and time.

If the great bassoons that mutter,
       If the clarinets that blow,
Were given a voice to utter
       The secret things they know,

Would the lists of the slam who slumber
       On the Danube's battle-plains
The unknown hosts outnumber
       Who die 'neath the "Danube's" strains?

Those fall where cannons rattle,
       'Mid the rain of shot and shell;
But these, in a fiercer battle,
       Find death in the music's swell.

With the river's roar of passion
       Is blended the dying groan;
But here, in the halls of fashion,
       Hearts break, and make no moan.

And the music, swelling and sweeping,
       Like the river, knows it all;
But none are counting or keeping
       The lists of these who fall.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1919, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.