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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Tuscan Cypress
By Agnes Mary Frances Robinson (1857–1944)
 
(Rispetti)

WHAT good is there, ah me, what good in Love?
  Since even if you love me, we must part;
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!        5
I would lie down and stretch me on the bier.
And yet would I, to hear you say—My own!
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;        10
And slowly I am dying day by day,—
  You look at me, and yet you do not know.
 
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,        15
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.        20
 
Come back and kiss me once upon the eyes,
So I, being dead, shall dream of Paradise;
Come, kneel beside me once and say a prayer,
So shall my soul be happy anywhere.
 

WHEN I am dead and I am quite forgot,
        25
  What care I if my spirit lives or dies?
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.        30
Ah, no,—the better heaven I fain would give,
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,        35
  With shadowy trees and tender misty sky.
 
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.        40
 

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        45
Where we will sail and sing when I am well;
Talking of Indian roses gold and red,
Which we will plait in wreaths—when I am dead.
 

TELL me a story, dear, that is not true,
  Strange as a vision, full of splendid things:        50
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,
Even the sound of it will break my heart;
For if you speak of us and of our love,        55
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;
Let us forget that any look or touch
  Once let in either to the other’s heart.        60
 
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,
Without to-morrow, without yesterday.
 

FAR, far away and in the middle sea,
        65
  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.
 
O ships that sail, O masts against the sky,
Will you not stop awhile in passing by?        70
O prayers that hope, O faith that never knew,
Will you not take me on to heaven with you?
 

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,        75
  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!        80
 

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,        85
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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