Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
On a bed of daffodil sky,
To faint in the light of the sun that she loves,
To faint in his light, and to die.
I said the rose, "The brief night goes
In a babble and revel of wine.
O young lord-lover, what sighs are those,
For one that will never be thine?
But mine, but mine," so I swear to the rose.
"For ever and ever, mine."
And the soul of the rose went into my blood,
As the music clashed in the hall;
And long by the garden lake I stood,
For I heard your rivulet fall
From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood,
Our wood, that is dearer than all;
From the meadow your walks have left so sweet
That wherever a March-wind sighs
He sets the jewel-print of your feet
In the violets as blue as your eyes,
To the woody hollows in which we meet
And the valleys of Paradise.
The slender acacia would not shake
One long milk-bloom on the tree;
The white lake-blossom fell into the lake
As the pimpernel dozed on the lea;
But the rose was awake all night for your sake,
Knowing your promise to me;
The lilies and roses were awake,
They sigh'd for the dawn and thee.
There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near;"
And the white rose weeps, "She is late;"
The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear;"
And the lily whispers, "I wait."
She is coming, my own, my sweet;
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthly bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead;
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.
-From 'Maud', Lord Alfred Tennyson.
Photograph by Anooke.