Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
An Italian Garden (1886)
III. Tuscan Cypress
By A. Mary F. Robinson-Darmesteter (1857–1944)
            Foir di Cipresso!
Accenditi, Candela, in su quel masso;
Fa lume all’amor mio che passa adesso.
M’affaccio alla finestra e veggo il mare,
    E mi ricordo che s’ha da morire.
Termineranno le speranze care!


MY mother bore me ’neath the streaming moon,
  And all the enchanted light is in my soul.
I have no place amid the happy noon,
  I have no shadow there nor aureole.
Ah, lonely whiteness in a clouded sky,        5
You are alone, nor less alone am I;
Ah, moon, that makest all the roses grey,
The roses I behold are wan as they!
What good is there, Ah me! what good in Love?
  Since, even if you love me, we must part;        10
And since for either, an you cared enough,
  There’s but division and a broken heart?
And yet, God knows, to hear you say: My Dear!
I would lie down and stretch me on the bier.
And yet would I, to hear you say: My own!        15
With mine own hands drag down the burial stone.
I love you more than any words can say,
  And yet you do not feel I love you so;
And slowly I am dying day by day,—
  You look at me, and yet you do not know.        20
You look at me and yet you do not fear:
You do not see the mourners with the bier.
You answer when I speak and wish me well,
And still you do not hear the passing bell.
O Love, O Love, come over the sea, come here,
  Come back and kiss me once when I am dead!
Come back and lay a rose upon my bier,
  Come, light the tapers at my feet and head.
Come back and kiss me once upon the eyes,
So I, being dead, shall dream of Paradise;        30
Come kneel beside me once and say a prayer,
So shall my soul be happy anywhere.
I sowed the field of Love with many seeds,
  With many sails I sailed before the blast,
And all my crop is only bitter weeds;        35
  My sails are torn, the winds have split the mast.
All of the winds have torn my sails and shattered,
All of the winds have blown my seed and scattered,
All of the storms have burst on my endeavour,—
So let me sleep at last and sleep for ever.        40
I am so pale to-night, so mere a ghost,
  Ah, what, to-morrow, shall my spirit be?
No living angel of the heavenly host,
  No happy soul, blithe in eternity.
Oh, I shall wander on beneath the moon,        45
A lonely phantom seeking for you, soon;
A wandering ghost, seeking you timidly,
Whom you will tremble, dear, and start to see!
When I am dead and I am quite forgot,
  What care I if my spirit lives or dies?        50
To walk with angels in a grassy plot,
  And pluck the lilies grown in Paradise?
Ah, no—the heaven of all my heart has been
To hear your voice and catch the sighs between.
Ah, no—the better heaven I fain would give,        55
But in a cranny of your soul to live.
Ah me, you well might wait a little while,
  And not forget me, Sweet, until I die!
I had a home, a little distant isle,
  With shadowy trees and tender misty sky.        60
I had a home! It was less dear than thou,
And I forgot, as you forget me now.
I had a home, more dear than I could tell,
And I forgot, but now remember well.
Love me to-day and think not on to-morrow,
  Come, take my hands, and lead me out of doors,
There in the fields let us forget our sorrow,
  Talking of Venice and Ionian shores;—
Talking of all the seas innumerable
Where we will sail and sing when I am well;        70
Talking of Indian roses gold and red,
Which we will plait in wreaths—when I am dead.
There is a Siren in the middle sea
  Sings all day long and wreathes her pallid hair,
Seven years you sail, and seven ceaselessly,        75
  From any port ere you adventure there.
Thither we’ll go, and thither sail away
Out of the world, to hear the Siren play;
Thither we’ll go and hide among her tresses,
Since all the world is savage wildernesses.        80
Tell me a story, dear, that is not true,
  Strange as a vision, full of splendid things;
Here will I lie and dream it is not you,
  And dream it is a mocking bird that sings.
For if I find your voice in any part,        85
Even the sound of it will break my heart;
For if you speak of us and of our love,
I faint and die to feel the thrill thereof.
Let us forget we loved each other much,
  Let us forget we ever have to part,        90
Let us forget that any look or touch
  Once let in either to the other’s heart.
Only we’ll sit upon the daisied grass
And hear the larks and see the swallows pass;
Only we’ll live awhile, as children play,        95
Without to-morrow, without yesterday.
Far, far away and in the middle sea,
  So still I dream, although the dream is vain,
There lies a valley full of rest for me,
  Where I shall live and you shall love again.        100
O ships that sail, O masts against the sky,
Will you not stop awhile in passing by?
O prayers that hope, O faith that never knew,
Will you not take me on to heaven with you?
Flower of the Cypress, little bitter bloom,
  You are the only blossom left to gather;
I never prized you, grown amid the gloom,
  But well you last, though all the others wither.
Flower of the Cypress, I will bind a crown
Tight round my brows to still these fancies down.        110
Flower of the Cypress, I will tie a wreath
Tight round my breast to kill the heart beneath.
Ah, Love, I cannot die, I cannot go
  Down in the dark and leave you all alone,
Ah, hold me fast, safe in the warmth I know,        115
  And never shut me underneath a stone.
Dead in the grave! And I can never hear
If you are ill or if you miss me, dear.
Dead, oh my God! and you may need me yet,
While I shall sleep, while I—while I—forget!        120
Come away Sorrow, Sorrow come away—
  Let us go sit in some cool, shadowy place;
There shall you sing and hush me all the day,
  While I will dream about my lover’s face.
Hush me, O Sorrow, like a babe to sleep,        125
Then close the lids above mine eyes that weep;
Rock me, O Sorrow, like a babe in pain,
Nor, when I slumber, wake me up again.

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