Beneath the trees with heedful step and slow
At night I go,
Fearful upon their whispering to break
Lest they awake
Out of those dreams of heavenly light that fill
Their branches still
With a soft murmur of memoried ecstasy.
There 'neath each tree
Nightlong a spirit watches, and I feel
His breath unseal
The fast-shut thoughts and longings of tired day,
That flutter away
Mothlike on luminous soft wings and frail
And moonlike pale.
There in the flowering chestnuts' bowering gloom
And limes' perfume
Wandering wavelike through the moondrawn night
That heaves toward light,
There hang I my dark thoughts and deeper prayers;
And as the airs
Of star-kissed dawn come stirring and o'er-creep
The ford of sleep,
Thy shape, great Love, grows shadowy in the East,
Thine accents least
Of all those warring voices of false morn:
And oh, forlorn
Thy hope, thy courage vanishing, thine eyes
Sad with surprise.
Oh, with the dawn I know, I know how vain
Is love that's fain
To beat and beat against her obstinate door.
For as once more
It groans, she passes out not heeding me,
Nay, will not see:--
As when a man, rich and of high estate,
Sees at his gate
(Or will not see) a famishing poor wretch,
Whose longings fetch
Old anger from his pain-imprisoning breast,
Till sad despair his anger puts to rest.