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Poem by Emma Lazarus


Spring Longing


        What art thou doing here, O Imagination?  Go
        away I entreat thee by the gods, as thou didst
        come, for I want thee not.  But thou art come
        according to thy old fashion.  I am not angry
        with theeonly go away.
                                  Marcus Antoninus

     Lilac hazes veil the skies.
         Languid sighs
     Breathes the mild, caressing air.
     Pink as coral's branching sprays,
         Orchard ways
     With the blossomed peach are fair.

     Sunshine, cordial as a kiss,
         Poureth bliss
     In this craving soul of mine,
     And my heart her flower-cup
         Lifteth up,
     Thirsting for the draught divine.

     Swift the liquid golden flame
         Through my frame
     Sets my throbbing veins afire.
     Bright, alluring dreams arise,
         Brim mine eyes
     With the tears of strong desire.

     All familiar scenes anear
         Disappear
     Homestead, orchard, field, and wold.
     Moorish spires and turrets fair
         Cleave the air,
     Arabesqued on skies of gold.

     Low, my spirit, this May morn,
         Outward borne,
     Over seas hath taken wing:
     Where the mediaeval town,
         Like a crown,
     Wears the garland of the Spring.

     Light and sound and odors sweet
         Fill the street;
     Gypsy girls are selling flowers.
     Lean hidalgos turn aside,
         Amorous-eyed,
     'Neath the grim cathedral towers.

     Oh, to be in Spain to-day,
         Where the May
     Recks no whit of good or evil,
     Love and only love breathes she!
         Oh, to be
     'Midst the olive-rows of Seville!

     Or on such a day to glide
         With the tide
     Of the berylline lagoon,
     Through the streets that mirror heaven,
         Crystal paven,
     In the warm Venetian noon.

     At the prow the gondolier
        May not hear,
     May not see our furtive kiss;
     But he lends with cadenced strain
         The refrain
     To our ripe and silent bliss.

     Golden shadows, silver light,
         Burnish bright
     Air and water, domes and skies;
     As in some ambrosial dream,
         On the stream
     Floats our bark in magic wise.

     Oh, to float day long just so!
         Naught to know
     Of the trouble, toil, and fret!
     This is love, and this is May:
         Yesterday
     And to-morrow to forget!

     Whither hast thou, Fancy free,
         Guided me,
     Wild Bohemian sister dear?
     All thy gypsy soul is stirred
         Since yon bird
     Warbled that the Spring was here.

     Tempt no more!  I may not follow,
         Like the swallow,
     Gayly on the track of Spring.
     Bounden by an iron fate,
         I must wait,
     Dream and wonder, yearn and sing.



Emma Lazarus


Emma Lazarus's other poems:
  1. On the Proposal to Erect a Monument in England to Lord Byron
  2. Arabesque
  3. Marriage Bells
  4. The World's Justice
  5. Matins


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