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On through the pines !
The pillared woods,
Where silence breathes sweet breath:-
O sunless gloom,
The other side of death !
So soft a night was never made for sleep,
But for the waking of the finer sense
To every murmuring and gentle sound,
To subtlest odours, pulses, visitings
That touch our frames with wings too delicate
To be discerned amid the blare of day.
(She pauses near the window to gather some
jasmine : then walks again.) Surely these flowers keep happy watch-their breath Is their fond memory of the loving light. I often rue the hours I lose in sleep : It is a bliss too brief, only to see This glorious world, to hear the voice of love, To feel the touch, the breath of tenderness, And then to rest as from a spectacle. I need the curtained stillness of the night To live through all my happy hours again With more selection-cull them quite away From blemished moments. Then in loneliness The face that bent before me in the day Rises in its own light, more vivid seems
Painted upon the dark, and ceaseless glows.
With sweet solemnity of gazing love,
Till like the heavenly blue it seems to grow
Nearer, more kindred, and more cherishing,
Mingling with all my being. Then the words,
The tender low-toned words come back again,
With repetition welcome as the chime
Of softly hurrying brooks— My only love-
My love while life shall last-my own Fedalma !
Oh it is mine—the joy that once has been !
Poor eager hope is but a stammerer,
Must listen dumbly to great memory,
Who makes our bliss the sweeter by her telling.
It must be sad to outlive aught we love.
So I shall grieve a little for these days
Of poor unwed Fedalma. Oh, they are sweet,
And none will come just like them. Perhaps the wind
Wails so in winter for the summers dead,
And all sad sounds are nature's funeral cries
For what has been and is not. Are they, Silva ?
These rubies greet me Duchess. How they glow !
Their prisoned souls are throbbing like my own.
Perchance they loved once, were ambitious, proud ;
Or do they only dream of wider life,
Ache from intenseness, yearn to burst the wall
Compact of crystal splendour, and to flood
Some wider space with glory? Poor, poor gems !
We must be patient in our prison-house,
And find our space in loving.
Fedalma.—These gems have life in them : their
Say what words fail of. So do many things-
The scent of jasmine, and the fountain's plash,
The moving shadows on the far-off hills,
The slanting moonlight, and our clasping hands.
O Silva, there's an ocean round our words.
That overflows and drowns them. Do you know
Sometimes when we sit silent, and the air
Breathes gently on us from the orange-trees,
It seems that with the whisper of a word
Our souls must shrink, get poorer, more apart.
Is it not true ?
Don Silva. Yes, dearest, it is true.
Speech is but broken light upon the depth
Of the unspoken : even your loved words
Float in the larger meaning of your voice
As something dimmer.
Hinda.—You love the roses-so do I. I wish The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not ?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and yet waking, all at once !
Over the sea, Queen, where we soon shall go,
Will it rain roses ?
Fedalma. No, my prattler, no !
It never will rain roses : when we want ;
To have more roses we must plant more trees.
Our words have wings, but fly not where we would.
Don Silva.–O God, it's true then !-true that you, A maiden nurtured as rare flowers are, The very air of heaven sifted fine Lest any mote should mar your purity, Have flung yourself out on the dusty way.
Fedalma.—Yes, it is true. I was not wrong to dance. The air was filled with music, with a song That seemed the voice of the sweet eventideThe glowing light entering through eye and earThat seemed our love-mine, yours—they are but
oneTrembling through all my limbs, as fervent words
Tremble within my soul, and must be spoken.
And all the people felt a common joy
And shouted for the dance. A brightness soft
As of the angels moving down to see
Illumined the broad space. The joy, the life
Around, within me, were one heaven : I longed
To blend them visibly : I longed to dance
Before the people—be as mounting flame
To all that burned within them! Nay, I danced ;
There was no longing : I but did the deed
Being moved to do it.
Oh! I seemed new-waked
To life in unison with a multitude-
Feeling my soul upborne by all their souls,
Floating within their gladness! Soon I lost
All sense of separateness : Fedalma died
As a star dies, and melts into the light.
I was not, but joy was, and love and triumph.
Father, I choose! I will not take a heaven
Haunted by shrieks of far-off misery.
No! On the close-thronged spaces of the earth
A battle rages : Fate has carried me
'Mid the thick arrows: I will keep my stand-
Not shrink and let the shaft pass by my breast