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Poem by Edward Rowland Sill


Hermione


I
THE LOST MAGIC

WHITE in her snowy stone, and cold,
With azure veins and shining arms,
Pygmalion doth his bride behold,
Rapt on her pure and sculptured charms.

Ah! in those half-divine old days
Love still worked miracles for men;
The gods taught lovers wondrous ways
To breathe a soul in marble then.

He gazed, he yearned, he vowed, he wept.
Some secret witchery touched her breast;
And, laughing April tears, she stepped
Down to his arms and lay at rest.

Dear artist of the storied land!
I too have loved a heart of stone.
What was thy charm of voice or hand,
Thy secret spell, Pygmalion?

II
INFLUENCES

IF quiet autumn mornings would not come,
With golden light, and haze, and harvest wain,
And spices of the dead leaves at my feet;
If sunsets would not burn through cloud, and stain
With fading rosy flush the dusky dome;
If the young mother would not croon that sweet
Old sleep-song, like the tobin's in the rain;
If the great cloud-ships would not float and drift
Across such blue all the calm afternoon;
If night were not so hushed; or if the moon
Might pause forever by that pearly rift,
Nor fill the garden with its flood again;
If the worid were not what it still must be,
Then might I live forgetting love and thee.

III
THE DEAD LETTER

THE letter came at last. I carried it
To the deep woods unopened. All the trees
Were hushed, as if they waited what was writ,
And feared for me. Silent they let me sit
Among them; leaning breathless while I read,
And bending down above me where they stood.
A long way off I heard the delicate tread
Of the light-footed loiterer, the breeze,
Come walking toward me in the leafy wood.
I burned the page that brought me love and woe.
At first it writhed to feel the spires of flame,
Then lay quite still; and o'er each word there came
Its white ghost of the ash, and burning slow
Each said: "You cannot kill the spirit; know
That we shall haunt you, even till heart and brain
Lie as we lie in ashesall in vain."

IV
THE SONG IN THE NIGHT

IN the deep night a little bird
Wakens, or dreams he is awake:
Cheerily clear one phrase is heard,
And you almost feel the morning break.

In the deep dark of loss and wrong,
One face like a lovely dawn will thrill,
And all night long at my heart a song
Suddenly stirs and then is still.



Edward Rowland Sill


Edward Rowland Sill's other poems:
  1. Force
  2. A Resting-Place
  3. Fertility
  4. Even There
  5. A Birds Song


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