The Poets and Poetry of America/To Ermengarde

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394361The Poets and Poetry of America — To ErmengardeNathaniel Parker Willis

  I know not if the sunshine waste,
    The world is dark since thou art gone!
  The hours are, O! so leaden-paced!
    The birds sing, and the stars float on,
  But sing not well, and look not fair;
  A weight is in the summer air,
    And sadness in the sight of flowers;
  And if I go where others smile,
    Their love but makes me think of ours,
  And Heaven gets my heart the while.
  Like one upon a desert isle,
    I languish of the dreary hours;
  I never though a life could be
So flung upon one hope, as mine, dear love, on thee!

  I sit and watch the summer sky;
    There comes a cloud through heaven alone;
  A thousand stars are shining night,
    It feels no light, but darkles on!
  Yet now it nears the lovelier moon,
    And, flashing through its fringes of snow,
  There steals a rosier dye, and soon
    Its bosom is one fiery glow!
  The queen of life within it lies,
    Yet mark how lovers meet to part:
  The cloud already onward flies,
    And shadows sink into its heart;
  And (dost thou see them where thou art?)
    Fade fast, fade all those glorious dyes!
  Its light, like mine, is seen no more,
And, like my own, its heart seems darker than before.

  Where press, this hour, those fairy feet?
    Where look, this hour, those eyes of blue?
  What music in thine ear is sweet?
    What odour breathes thy lattice through?
  What word is on thy lip? What tone,
  What look, replying to thine own?
  Thy steps along the Danube stray,
    Alas, it seeks an orient sea!
  Thou wouldst not seem so far away,
    Flow'd but its waters back to me!
  I bless the slowly-coming moon,
    Because its eye look'd late in thine;
  I envy the west wind of June,
    Whose wings will bear it up the Rhine;
  The flower I press upon my brow
Were sweeter if its like perfumed thy chamber now!