A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

"There, at the moated grange, resides this dejected Mariana."


The sunset-crimson poppies are departed,
The dusky-centred, sultry-smelling poppies,
The drowsy-hearted,
That burnt like flames along the garden coppice:
All heavy-headed,
The ruby-cupped and opium-brimming poppies,
That slumber wedded,
The sunset-crimson poppies are departed.
Oh, heavy, heavy are the hours that fall,
The lonesome hours of the lonely days!
No poppy strews oblivion by the wall,
Where lone the last pod sways,
Oblivion that was hers of old that happier made her days.
Oh, weary, weary is the sky o'er all,
The days that creep, the hours that crawl,
And weary all the ways
She leans her face against the old stone wall,
The lichened wall, the mildewed wall,
And dreams, the long, long days,
Of one who will not come again whatever may befall.
. . . . .
All night it blew. The rain streamed down
And drowned the world in misty wet.
At morning, 'round the sunflower's crown
A row of glimmering drops was set;
The candytuft, heat shrivelled brown,
And beds of drought-dried mignonette,
Were beat to earth: but wearier, oh,
The rain was than the sun's fierce glow
That in the garth had wrought such woe:
That killed the moss-rose ere it bloomed,
And scorched the double-hollyhocks;
And bred great, poisonous weeds that doomed
The snapdragon and standing-phlox;
'Mid which gaunt spiders wove and loomed
Their dusty webs 'twixt rows of box;
And rotted into sleepy ooze
The lilied moat, that, lined with yews,
Lay scummed with many sickly hues.
How oft she longed and prayed for rain!
To blot the hateful landscape out!
To hem her heart, so parched with pain,
With sounds of coolth and broken drought;
And cure with change her stagnant brain,
And soothe to sleep all care and doubt.
At last when many days had past
And she had ceased to care at last
The longed-for rain came, falling fast.
At night, as late she lay awake,
And thought of him who had not come,
She heard the gray wind, moaning, shake
Her lattice; then the steady drum
Of storm upon the leads.. . The ache
Within her heart, so burdensome,
Grew heavier with the moan of rain.
The house was still, save, at her pane
The wind cried; hushed, then cried again.
All night she lay awake and wept:
There was no other thing to do:
At dawn she rose and, silent, crept
Adown the stairs that led into
The dripping garth, the storm had swept
With ruin; where, of every hue,
The flowers lay rotting, stained with mould;
Where all was old, unkempt and old,
And ragged as a marigold.
She sat her down, where oft she sat,
Upon a bench of marble, where,
In lines she oft would marvel at,
A Love was carved. She did not dare
Look on it then, remembering that
Here in past time he kissed her hair,
And murmured vows while, soft above,
The full moon lit the forth thereof,
The slowly crumbling form of Love.
She could but weep, remembering hours
Like these. Then in the drizzling rain.,
That weighed with wet the dying flowers,
She sought the old stone dial again;
The dial, among the moss-rose bowers,
Where often she had read, in vain,
Of time and change, and love and loss,
Rude-lettered and o'ergrown with moss,
That slow the gnomon moved across.
Remembering this she turned away,
The rain and tears upon her face.
There was no thing to do or say.
She stood a while, a little space,
And watched the rain bead, round and gray,
Upon the cobweb's tattered lace,
And tag the toadstool's spongy brim
With points of mist; and, orbing, dim
With fog the sunflower's ruined rim.
With fog, through which the moon at night
Would glimmer like a spectre sail;
Or, sullenly, a blur of light,
Like some huge glow-worm dimly trail;
'Neath which she 'd hear, wrapped deep in white,
The far sea moaning on its shale:
While in the garden, pacing slow,
And listening to its surge and flow,
She'd seem to hear her own heart's woe.
Now as the fog crept in from sea,
A great, white darkness, like a pall,
The yews and huddled shrubbery,
That dripped along the weedy wall,
Turned phantoms; and as shadowy
She too seemed, wandering 'mid it all
A phantom, pale and sad and strange,
And hopeless; doomed for aye to range
About the melancholy grange.
. . . . .
The pansies too are dead, the violet-varied,
The raven-dyed and fire-fretted pansies,
To memory married;
That from the grass, like forms in old romances,
Raised fairy faces:
All dead they lie, the violet-velvet pansies,
In many places,
The pansies too are dead, the violet-varied.
Oh, hateful, hateful are the hours that pass,
The lonely hours of the lonesome nights!
No pansy scatters heartsease through the grass,
That autumn sorrow blights,
The heartsease that was hers of old that happier made her nights.
Oh, barren, barren is her life, alas!
Its youth and beauty, all it has,
And barren all delights
She lays her face against the withered grass,
The sodden grass, the autumn grass,
And thinks, the long, long nights,
Of one who will not come again whatever comes to pass.

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