Frances Anne Kemble

(27 November 1809 - 15 January 1893 / London, England)

Noonday By The Seaside - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble

The sea has left the strand—
In their deep sapphire cup
The waves lie gathered up,
Off the hard-ribbed sand.

From each dark rocky brim
The full wine-tinted billows ebbed away,
Leave on the golden rim
Of their huge bowl not one thin line of spray.

Above the short-grassed downs all broidered over
With scarlet pimpernel, and silver clover,
Like spicy incense quivers the warm air,
With piercing fervid heat,
The noonday sunbeams beat
On the red granite sea-slabs, broad and bare.

And prone along the shore,
Basking in the fierce glare,
Lie sun-bronzed Titans, covered o'er
With shaggy, sea-weed hair.

Come in, under this vault of brownest shade,
By sea-worn arches made,
Where all the air, with a rich topaz light,
Is darkly bright.
'Neath these rock-folded canopies,
Shadowy and cool,
The crystal water lies
In many a glassy pool,
Whose green-veined sides, as they receive the light,
Gleam like pale wells of precious malachite.

In the warm shallow water dip thy feet,
Shining like rose-hued pearls below the wave,
And, lying in this hollow, sea-smoothed seat,
Gaze on the far-off white-sailed fisher fleet,
Framed in the twilight portal of our cave;
While I lie here, and gaze on thee
Fairer art thou to me
Than Aphrodite, when the breathless deep
Wafted her smiling in her rosy sleep
Towards the green-myrtled shore, that in delight
With starry fragrance suddenly grew white,
Or than the shuddering girl,
Whose wide distended eyes,
Glassy with dread surprise,
Saw the huge billow curl,
Foaming and bristling, with its grisly freight;
While, twinkling from afar,
With iris-feathered heels, and falchion bright,
From the blue cope of heaven's dazzling height,
Her lover swooped, a flashing noon-tide star.

A mid-day dream hath lighted on thy brow,
And gently bends it down; thy fair eyes swim,
In liquid languor, lustreless and dim,
And slowly dropping now,
From the light loosened clasp of thy warm hand,
Making a ruddy shadow on the sand,
Falls a wine-perfumed rose, with crimson glow.

Sleep, my belovèd! while the sultry spell
Of silent noon o'er sea and earth doth dwell:
Stoop thy fair graceful head upon my breast,
With its thick rolls of golden hair opprest,
My lily!—and my breathing shall not sob
With one tumultuous sigh—nor my heart throb
With one irregular bound—that I may keep
With tenderest watch the treasure of thy sleep.
Droop gently down, in slumb'rous, slow eclipse,
Fair fringèd lids! beneath my sealing lips.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010



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