After Paul Verlaine

A poem by Ernest Christopher Dowson


Il pleut doucement sur la ville.--RIMBAUD

Tears fall within mine heart,
As rain upon the town:
Whence does this languor start,
Possessing all mine heart?

O sweet fall of the rain
Upon the earth and roofs!
Unto an heart in pain,
O music of the rain!

Tears that have no reason
Fall in my sorry heart:
What! there was no treason?
This grief hath no reason.

Nay! the more desolate,
Because, I know not why,
(Neither for love nor hate)
Mine heart is desolate.



Into the lonely park all frozen fast,
Awhile ago there were two forms who passed.

Lo, are their lips fallen and their eyes dead,
Hardly shall a man hear the words they said.

Into the lonely park, all frozen fast,
There came two shadows who recall the past.

"Dost thou remember our old ecstasy?"--
"Wherefore should I possess that memory?"--

"Doth thine heart beat at my sole name alway?
Still dost thou see my soul in visions?" "Nay!"--

"They were fair days of joy unspeakable,
Whereon our lips were joined?"--"I cannot tell."--

"Were not the heavens blue, was not hope high?"--
"Hope has fled vanquished down the darkling sky."--

So through the barren oats they wander├Ęd,
And the night only heard the words they said.



Around were all the roses red,
The ivy all around was black.

Dear, so thou only move thine head,
Shall all mine old despairs awake!

Too blue, too tender was the sky,
The air too soft, too green the sea.

Always I fear, I know not why,
Some lamentable flight from thee.

I am so tired of holly-sprays
And weary of the bright box-tree,

Of all the endless country ways;
Of everything alas! save thee.


The sky is up above the roof
So blue, so soft!
A tree there, up above the roof,
Swayeth aloft.

A bell within that sky we see,
Chimes low and faint:
A bird upon that tree we see,
Maketh complaint.

Dear God! is not the life up there,
Simple and sweet?
How peacefully are borne up there
Sounds of the street!

What hast thou done, who comest
To weep alway?
Where hast thou laid, who comest here,
Thy youth away?

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