Beneath Her Window

MAIDEN, down the moonlit vines
Let thy whisper softly creep,
Sweet as midnight’s breath of pines,
Pure as lilies grouped asleep.
All the fervors of the deep
Yearn and falter in my soul;
The revealing, secret things,
Buried under Memphian wings,
Move me with a weird control.
All of dreamland hidden lies
In the rapture of thine eyes;
And what olden empires fret
Ceaseless chords of memory,
Or what happy ripples wet
Thy rich garments, by the sea,
In some cloudland, wide and free,
Is not whispered, is not said,
By the wise stars overhead.
Dost remember when the beech
Round thy perfect limbs did reach,
Ere thy days of human speech?
Ah! I doubt not Dian’s kiss,
When the fair youth dreamed of bliss,
Just a flicker in the shade
Of your modest branches made;
And yon heard the crimpled fern
In its mossy hollows turn,
As the goddess, half afraid,
Fled across the moony glade.
Wast thou queen of Plato’s isle,
Lapt in summer’s endless smile?
All the training of a queen
Lingers yet in step and mien;
And the graceful, tingling beech
Wavers in your airy speech;
And your motions, quickly, slowly,
Are the woodland naiad’s wholly.
Maiden of unwhispered lore,
Hast thou never loved before?
Did no former ages fold
Lover’s kiss and rapture bold?
Then you have not sounded clearly
All the age’s essence nearly.
Yet thou seem’st a simple woman,
Warm and mortal, bright and human;
Let a dewy rosebud slide,
And the starlit night divide,
Then my soul will understand
You forget the cloudy land,
And your olden spells resign
For the sake of love divine.
Charles H. Shinn.