“ COME out and hear the birds sing! Oh, wherefore sit you there
At the western window watching, dreamy-pale and still and fair,
While the warm summer wind disparts your tresses’ clustering gold?
What is it on the dim sea line your eyes would fain behold?”
“ I seek a sail that never looms from out the purple haze
At rosy dawn, or fading eve, or in the noontide’s blaze.”
“ A sail? Lo, many a column of white canvas far and near!
All day they glide across the blue, appear and disappear;
See, bow they crowd the offing, flocking from the sultry South!
Why stirs a smile more sad than tears the patience of your mouth? ”
“ They lean before the freshening breeze, they cross the ocean floor,
But the ship that brings me tidings of my love comes nevermore.”
“ Come out into the garden where the crimson phloxes burn,
And every slender lily-stem upbears a lustrous urn;
A thousand greetings float to you from bud and bell and star,
Their sweetness freights the breathing wind; how beautiful they are! ”
“ Their brilliant color blinds me; I sicken at their breath;
The whisper of this mournful wind is sad to me as death.”
“ And must you sit so white and cold while all the world is bright?
Ah, come with me and see how all is brimming with delight!
On the beach the emerald breaker murmurs o’er the tawny sand;
The white spray from the rock is tossed, by melting rainbows spanned.”
“ Nay, mock me not! I have no heart for nature’s happiness;
One sound alone my soul can fill, one shape my sight can bless.”
“ And are your fetters forged so fast, though you were free and strong,
By the old, mysterious madness, told in story and in song
Since burdened with the human race the world began to roll?
Can you not thrust the weight away, so heavy on your soul? ”
“ There is no power in earth or heaven such madness to destroy,
And I would not part with sorrow that is sweeter far than joy.”
“ Oh marvelous content, that from such still despair is born!
Nay, I would wrestle with my fate till love were slain with scorn!
Oh, mournful Mariana! I would never sit so pale,
Watching, with eyes grown dim with dreams, the coming of a sail! ”
“ Peace, peace! How can you measure a depth you never knew?
My chains to me are dearer than your freedom is to you.”
Celia Thaxter.