Frances Anne Kemble
Genius And Love - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble
Genius and Love together stood
At break of day beside clear fountains,
In gardens hedged with laurel wood,
Screened by a wall of purple mountains;
As hand in hand they smiling strayed,
Love twined a wreath of perfect roses
On Genius' brow; 'And thus,' he said,
'My soul on thy bright soul reposes.'
And round and round they joyous flew,
On rapid now, now lingering pinion,
And blissful Love ne'er weary grew
Of measuring o'er his bright dominion.
Anon they rested from their flight,
And through the fringes of clear water,
All rainbow-touched Love chased a sprite,
The silver Naiad's snowy daughter,
While Genius lay with flashing eyes,
Looking into the distant skies.
Love paused and said, 'What dost thou see?'
'The far-off shining of the sea—
Say, wilt thou thither fly with me?'
'Is there a home by the wild flood?
Ah! leave we not our pleasant wood!'
But suddenly, with eager wings,
Towards his desire Genius springs;
So strong his flight, the rosy crown
At Love's sad feet fell broken down,
And lay beside him where he sate,
Waiting the coming of his mate:
And he returned all gloriously,
From the foam-caverns of the sea,
And brought strange heaps of shining treasure
To Love, who prized beyond all measure
His mere return:—And now his sight,
Swift as the eagle's sunward flight,
Rested upon the mountain's height—
'Look! wilt thou thither with me fly,
Dear Love?'—he cried; and rapidly
Beat with his golden wings the air.
'Is there a home for us up there?
What seek'st thou on the mountain's brow?'
'To see the wide world lie below.'
So he swept thither like the wind,
And Love remained dismayed behind:
And now a spirit of the air
Garlands of noble amaranth bare
To the Love god beside the fountain,
And spake—'Lo! Genius from the mountain
Sends thee, dear Love, eternal flowers,
To deck thy pleasant myrtle bowers.'
'Ah!' answered Love despondingly,
'Sweet roses were enough for me;
Look, they grow here upon the ground,
Close to our very home, all round,
And morn and even may be found—
When comes he back?' 'Into the sky
I saw him from the mountain fly
Higher and higher towards the sun.'
Love sighed, 'The day must soon be done,
And evening shall the wanderer bring,
With sated soul and weary wing.'
Love knew not that bold Genius' flight
Had passed the realms of day and night,
Till, from the blue, a glorious crown
Of starry light was towards him thrown;
He saw th' immortal circlet burn,
And knew his mate would ne'er return:
He gathered up the rosy wreath,
With withered leaves, and faint sweet breath;
And turning to the darkening skies
The tender longing of his eyes,
He bitterly began to weep,
And wept himself at last to sleep.
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