Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 7/Starralore

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Love has left his mournful traces on that fairest of all faces,
And by many sins and sorrows I am older than of yore:
I can hear my lovers calling, while I feel my spirit falling
To a depth the more appalling: I am falling evermore;
I am falling ever farther from the happy Starralore.

There my spirit haunts and hovers, for there are all my lovers:
I can hear their happy voices on the far-off happy shore:
I can feel the breezes blowing, hear the happy rivers flowing,
Where immortal flowers are growing and the birds sing evermore;
In the gardens and the bowers of the happy Starralore.

For no joy has beamed upon me since the evil spirit won me,
And I passed the gates of glory in my fiery youth of yore:
But though God himself abhor me, there are lovers asking for me,
There are angels weeping for me in the happy Starralore;
And they call in love and sorrow; call me back for evermore.

There’s a wilderness around me; gloomy seas and mountains bound me;
And the star that rose to light me, it has set for evermore:
For I loved the roar and rattle and the fiery rush of battle,
And no demon’s wing was darker than the banner which I bore;
For I fought the holy angels from the blessed Starralore.

But another spell came o’er me; and a woman stood before me
With the looks of love and glory which the blessed angels wore;
And I cried, “Now joy betide me! ’tis an angel sent to guide me,
And in beauty walk beside me to the happy Starralore:
God has sent this holy angel His apostate to restore!”

It was but an earth-bound spirit; and ah, bootless to inherit
All the gifts of God our Father, all the spirit’s love and lore,
While the chain of Beauty bound me; for she wound her white arms round me;
In a sea of passion drowned me, till the spirit could not soar;
And she held me back and led me far away from Starralore.

And I shook her off in sorrow; but she came again to-morrow
In her beauty, and I trembled in my weakness evermore;
And she stood in tears before me when a balmy breeze blew o’er me,
And the fragrance that it bore me was from happy Starralore;
From the bowers and the flowers of the happy Starralore.

And I shook her off in anger when I heard the trumpet’s clangor
Call to battle all the heroes, nerved as heroes were of yore:
But, alas, in vain I started: feeble-limbed and craven-hearted,
All the glory had departed, and my locks of might she shore;
While I heard the shouts of battle from the sons of Starralore.

And she cried, “Alas, I love thee as another cannot love thee;
And my bosom is thy pillow; cast me not away, therefore!”
And she cried, “This world of ours has its gardens and its flowers,
And the birds sing in the bowers songs of love for evermore,
Full as sweet as they sing even in the happy Starralore.

Ah, why lovest thou the rattle and the rush and roar of battle?
Lo, our flocks are in the valleys! let us garner up our store!
And we’ll live a life enchanted: and our homestead shall be haunted
By the happy angels granted to Love’s prayers for evermore:
Love shall bless us with blithe angels, fair as those of Starralore.”

And she cried, “In vain I love thee, if thou lovest one above me,
With the faith and with the fervour that I love thee evermore:
But thy sword is never needed, and thy little aid unheeded:
Ah, let the god of glory fight the foes of Starralore,
While love fills thee and love thrills thee to the bosom’s happy core.”

And her locks of golden lustre wind around me, and they cluster
Round the wings I wear, but wave not, and shall wave, ah, never more!
And for ever, ever after, I can hear the demon’s laughter,
And the feeblest sigh I waft her is, Adieu for evermore
To the bowers and the garden and the god of Starralore!

Paul Richardson.