Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

(1834-1894 / England)

The Dance - Poem by Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel

Dancing and singing under tender stars,
In serene purple air! a rising moon
Charming all harshness from the fuming flame
Of resinous torch, and lowlier village fires,
Mild as evanishing fireflies in the shade!
A night of love for lovely youths and girls,
Of revelry, and wine and flute playing,
Psaltery, reed, marimba, or cithern;
Rude sires of more harmonious instruments,
String'd with a root, a snake-skin strain'd athwart -
One sang me a small song about the dance.

The dance! the dance!
Maidens advance
Your undulating charm!
A line deploys
Of gentle boys,
Waving the light arm,
Bronze alive and warm;
Reedflute and drum
Sound as they come,
Under your eyelight warm!
Many a boy,
A dancing joy,
Many a mellow maid,
With fireflies in the shade,
Mingle and glide,
Appear and hide,
Here in a fairy glade:
Ebb and flow
To a music low,
Viol, and flute and lyre,
As melody mounts higher:
With a merry will,
They touch and thrill,
Beautiful limbs of fire!

Red berries, shells,
Over bosom-dells,
And girdles of light grass,
May never hide
The youthful pride
Of beauty, ere it pass:
Yet, ah! sweet boy and lass,
Refrain, retire!
Love is a fire!
Night will pass!

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010



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