Arthur Symons

(28 February 1865 – 22 January 1945 / Milford Havens, Wales)

Airs for the Lute


I
When the sobbing lute complains,
Grieving for an ancient sorrow,
This poor sorrow that remains
Fain would borrow,
To give pleading unto sorrow,
Those uncapturable strains.

All, that hands upon the lute
Helped the voices to declare,
Voices mute
But for this, might I not share,
If, alas, I could but suit
Hand and voice unto the lute?
II
If time so sweetly
On true according viols make
Her own completely
The lawless laws of turn and shake;

How should I doubt then
Love, being tuned unto your mood,
Should bring about then
True time and measure of your blood?
III
Why are you sorrowful in dreams?
I am sad in the night;
The hours till morning are white,
I hear the hours' flight
All night in dreams.

Why do you send me your dreams?
For an old love's sake;
I dream if I sleep or wake,
And shall but one heart ache,
For the sake of dreams?

Pray that we sleep without dreams!
Ah, love, the only way
To put sorrow away,
Night or day, night or day,
From the way of dreams!
IV
Strange, to remember tears!
Yet I know that I wept;
And those hopes and those fears,
Strange, were as real as tears!

What's this delicate pain,
Twilight-coloured and grey?
Odour-like through my brain
Steals a shadowy pain.

What's this joy in the air?
Musical as the leaves,
When the white winds are there,
Faint joy breathes in the air.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

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