845. Revelation

Edmund Gosse. b. 1849

    INTO the silver night
      She brought with her pale hand
    The topaz lanthorn-light,
  And darted splendour o'er the land;
      Around her in a band,
Ringstraked and pied, the great soft moths came flying,
  And flapping with their mad wings, fann'd
The flickering flame, ascending, falling, dying.

    Behind the thorny pink
      Close wall of blossom'd may,
    I gazed thro' one green chink
  And saw no more than thousands may,--
      Saw sweetness, tender and gay,--
Saw full rose lips as rounded as the cherry,
  Saw braided locks more dark than bay,
And flashing eyes decorous, pure, and merry.

    With food for furry friends
      She pass'd, her lamp and she,
    Till eaves and gable-ends
  Hid all that saffron sheen from me:
      Around my rosy tree
Once more the silver-starry night was shining,
  With depths of heaven, dewy and free,
And crystals of a carven moon declining.

    Alas! for him who dwells
      In frigid air of thought,
    When warmer light dispels
  The frozen calm his spirit sought;
      By life too lately taught
He sees the ecstatic Human from him stealing;
  Reels from the joy experience brought,
And dares not clutch what Love was half revealing.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition