Ballade Of Love's Cloister

A poem by Richard Le Gallienne

Had I the gold that some so vainly spend,
For my lost loves a temple would I raise,
A shrine for each dear name: there should ascend
Incense for ever, and hymns of golden praise;
And I would live the remnant of my days,
Where hallowed windows cast their painted gleams,
At prayer before each consecrated face,
Kneeling within that cloister of old dreams.

And each fair altar, like a priest, I'd tend,
Trimming the tapers to a constant blaze,
And to each lovely and beloved friend
Garlands I'd bring, and virginal soft sprays
From April's bodice, and moon-breasted May's,
And there should be a sound for ever of streams
And birds 'mid happy leaves in that still place, -
Kneeling within that cloister of old dreams.

O'er missals of hushed memories would I bend,
And thrilling scripts of bosom-scented phrase,
Telling of love that never hath an end,
And sacred relics of wonder-working grace,
Strands of bright hair, and tender webs of lace,
Press to my lips - until the Present seems
The Past again to my ensorcelled gaze, -
Kneeling within that cloister of old dreams.


Princesses unforgot, your lover lays
His heart upon your altars, and he deems
He treads again the fair love-haunted ways -
Kneeling within that cloister of old dreams.

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