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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 110/175 -


Caroline Keppel [1735- ? ]

"IF YOU WERE HERE" A Song In Winter

O love, if you were here This dreary, weary day, - If your lips, warm and dear, Found some sweet word to say, - Then hardly would seem drear These skies of wintry gray.

But you are far away, - How far from me, my dear! What cheer can warm the day? My heart is chill with fear, Pierced through with swift dismay; A thought has turned Life sere:

If you, from far away, Should come not back, my dear; If I no more might lay My hand on yours, nor hear That voice, now sad, now gay, Caress my listening ear;

If you, from far away, Should come no more, my dear, - Then with what dire dismay Year joined to hostile year Would frown, if I should stay Where memories mock and jeer!

But I would come away To dwell with you, my dear; Through unknown worlds to stray, - Or sleep; nor hope, nor fear, Nor dream beneath the clay Of all our days that were.

Philip Bourke Marston [1850-1887]

"COME TO ME, DEAREST"

Come to me, dearest, I'm lonely without thee; Daytime and night-time, I'm thinking about thee; Night-time and daytime in dreams I behold thee; Unwelcome the waking which ceases to fold thee. Come to me, darling, my sorrows to lighten, Come in thy beauty to bless and to brighten; Come in thy womanhood, meekly and lowly, Come in thy lovingness, queenly and holy.

Swallows will flit round the desolate ruin, Telling of spring and its joyous renewing; And thoughts of thy love and its manifold treasure, Are circling my heart with a promise of pleasure. O Spring of my spirit, O May of my bosom, Shine out on my soul, till it bourgeon and blossom; The waste of my life has a rose-root within it, And thy fondness alone to the sunshine can win it.

Figure that moves like a song through the even; Features lit up by a reflex of heaven; Eyes like the skies of poor Erin, our mother, Where shadow and sunshine are chasing each other; Smiles coming seldom, but childlike and simple, Planting in each rosy cheek a sweet dimple; - O, thanks to the Saviour, that even thy seeming Is left to the exile to brighten his dreaming.

You have been glad when you knew I was gladdened; Dear, are you sad now to hear I am saddened? Our hearts ever answer in tune and in time, love, As octave to octave, and rhyme unto rhyme, love: I cannot weep but your tears will be flowing, You cannot smile but my cheek will be glowing; I would not die without you at my side, love, You will not linger when I shall have died, love.

Come to me, dear, ere I die of my sorrow, Rise on my gloom like the sun of to-morrow; Strong, swift, and fond are the words which I speak, love, With a song on your lip and a smile on your cheek, love. Come, for my heart in your absence is weary, - Haste, for my spirit is sickened and dreary, - Come to my arms which alone should caress thee, Come to the heart which is throbbing to press thee!

Joseph Brenan [1829-1857]

SONG

'Tis said that absence conquers love! But, oh! believe it not; I've tried, alas! its power to prove, But thou art not forgot. Lady, though fate has bid us part, Yet still thou art as dear, As fixed in this devoted heart, As when I clasped thee here.

I plunge into the busy crowd, And smile to hear thy name; And yet, as if I thought aloud, They know me still the same; And when the wine-cup passes round, I toast some other fair, - But when I ask my heart the sound, Thy name is echoed there.

And when some other name I learn, And try to whisper love, Still will my heart to thee return Like the returning dove. In vain! I never can forget, And would not be forgot; For I must bear the same regret, Whate'er may be my lot.

E'en as the wounded bird will seek Its favorite bower to die, So, lady! I would hear thee speak, And yield my parting sigh. 'Tis said that absence conquers love! But, oh! believe it not; I've tried, alas! its power to prove, But thou art not forgot.

Frederick William Thomas [1811-1864]

PARTING

Too fair, I may not call thee mine: Too dear, I may not see Those eyes with bridal beacons shine; Yet, Darling, keep for me - Empty and hushed, and safe apart, - One little corner of thy heart.

Thou wilt be happy, dear! and bless Thee: happy mayst thou be. I would not make thy pleasure less; Yet, Darling, keep for me - My life to light, my lot to leaven, - One little corner of thy Heaven.

Good-by, dear heart! I go to dwell A weary way from thee; Our first kiss is our last farewell; Yet, Darling, keep for me - Who wander outside in the night, - One little corner of thy light.

Gerald Massey [1828-1907]

THE PARTING HOUR

Not yet, dear love, not yet: the sun is high; You said last night, "At sunset I will go." Come to the garden, where when blossoms die No word is spoken; it is better so: Ah! bitter word "Farewell."

Hark! how the birds sing sunny songs of spring! Soon they will build, and work will silence them; So we grow less light-hearted as years bring Life's grave responsibilities - and then The bitter word "Farewell."

The violets fret to fragrance 'neath your feet, Heaven's gold sunlight dreams aslant your hair: No flower for me! your mouth is far more sweet. O, let my lips forget, while lingering there, Love's bitter word "Farewell."

Sunset already! have we sat so long? The parting hour, and so much left unsaid! The garden has grown silent - void of song, Our sorrow shakes us with a sudden dread! Ah! bitter word "Farewell."

Olive Custance [1874-

A SONG OF AUTUMN

All through the golden weather Until the autumn fell, Our lives went by together So wildly and so well.

But autumn's wind uncloses The heart of all your flowers;


The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 110/175

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