Roses and Rue (To L.L.)
Could we dig up this long-buried treasure, Were it worth the pleasure,
We never could learn love's song,
We are parted too long.
Could the passionate past that is fled Call back its dead,
Could we live it all over again,
Were it worth the pain!
I remember we used to meet
By an ivied seat,
And you warbled each pretty word With the air of a bird;
And your voice had a quaver in it, Just like a linnet,
And shook, as the blackbird's throat With its last big note;
And your eyes, they were green and grey Like an April day,
But lit into amethyst
When I stooped and kissed;
And your mouth, it would never smile For a long, long while,
Then it rippled all over with laughter Five minutes after.
You were always afraid of a shower, Just like a flower:
I remember you started and ran When the rain began.
I remember I never could catch you, For no one could match you,
You had wonderful, luminous, fleet Little wings to your feet.
I remember your hair - did I tie it? For it always ran riot -
Like a tangled sunbeam of gold: These things are old.
I remember so well the room, And the lilac bloom
That beat at the dripping pane In the warm June rain;
And the colour of your gown, It was amber-brown,
And two yellow satin bows From your shoulders rose.
And the handkerchief of French lace Which you held to your face -
Had a small tear left a stain?
Or was it the rain?
On your hand as it waved adieu There were veins of blue;
In your voice as it said good-bye Was a petulant cry,
"You have only wasted your life."
(Ah, that was the knife!)
When I rushed through the garden gate It was all too late.
Could we live it over again,
Were it worth the pain,
Could the passionate past that is fled Call back its dead!
Well, if my heart must break, Dear love, for your sake,
It will break in music, I know, Poets' hearts break so.
But strange that I was not told That the brain can hold
In a tiny ivory cell
God's heaven and hell.