Dolce Far Niente

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

I


Over the bay as our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine,
Far to the East lay the ocean paling
Under the skies of Augustine.--
There, in the boat as we sat together,
Soft in the glow of the turquoise weather,
Light as the foam or a seagull's feather,
Fair of form and of face serene,
Sweet at my side I felt you lean,
As over the bay our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine.


II


Over the bay as our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine,
Pine and palm, to the West, hung, trailing
Under the skies of Augustine.--
Was it the wind that sighed above you?
Was it the wave that whispered of you?
Was it my soul that said "I love you"?
Was it your heart that murmured between,
Answering, shy as a bird unseen?
As over the bay our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine.


III


Over the bay as our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine,
Gray and low flew the heron wailing
Under the skies of Augustine.--
Naught was spoken. We watched the simple
Gulls wing past. Your hat's white wimple
Shadowed your eyes. And your lips, a-dimple,
Smiled and seemed from your soul to wean
An inner beauty, an added sheen,
As over the bay our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine.


IV


Over the bay as our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine,
Red on the marshes the day flared, failing
Under the skies of Augustine.--
Was it your thought, or the transitory
Gold of the West, like a dreamy story,
Bright on your brow, that I read? the glory
And grace of love, like a rose-crowned queen
Pictured pensive in mind and mien?
As over the bay our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine.


V


Over the bay as our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine,
Wan on the waters the mist lay veiling
Under the skies of Augustine.--
Was it the joy that begot the sorrow?--
Joy that was filled with the dreams that borrow
Prescience sad of a far To-morrow,--
There in the Now that was all too keen,
That shadowed the fate that might intervene?
As over the bay our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine.


VI


Over the bay as our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine,
The marsh-hen cried and the tide was ailing
Under the skies of Augustine.--
And so we parted. No vows were spoken.
No faith was plighted that might be broken.
But deep in our hearts each bore a token
Of life and of love and of all they mean,
Beautiful, thornless and ever green,
As over the bay our boat went sailing
Under the skies of Augustine.


St. Augustine, Fla.

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