On the River (Daley Poem)
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On the River Daley Poem

Fade off the ridges, rosy light,
Fade slowly from the last gray height,
And leave no gloomy cloud to grieve
The heart of this enchanted eve!

All things beneath the still sky seem
Bound by the spell of a sweet dream;
In the dusk forest, dreamingly,
Droops slowly down each plumèd head;
The river flowing softly by
Dreams of the sea; the quiet sea
Dreams of the unseen stars; and I
Am dreaming of the dreamless dead.

The river has a silken sheen,
But red rays of the sunset stain
Its pictures, from the steep shore caught,
Till shades of rock, and fern, and tree
Glow like the figures on a pane
Of some old church by twilight seen,
Or like the rich devices wrought
In mediæval tapestry.

All lonely in a drifting boat
Through shine and shade I float and float,
Dreaming and dreaming, till I seem
Part of the picture and the dream.

There is no sound to break the spell,
No voice of bird or stir of bough;
Only the lisp of waters wreathing
In little ripples round the prow,
And a low air, like Silence breathing,
That hardly dusks the sleepy swell
Whereon I float to that strange deep
That sighs upon the shores of Sleep.

But in the silent heaven blooming
   Behold the wondrous sunset flower
   That blooms and fades within the hour --
The flower of fantasy, perfuming
   With subtle melody of scent
   The blue aisles of the firmament!

For colour, music, scent, are one;
   From deeps of air to airless heights,
Lo! how he sweeps, the splendid sun,
   His burning lyre of many lights!

See the clear golden lily blowing!
   It shines as shone thy gentle soul,
   O my most sweet, when from the goal
   Of life, far-gazing, thou didst see --
   While Death still feared to touch thine eyes,
Where such immortal light was glowing --
   The vision of Eternity,
   The pearly gates of Paradise!

Now richer hues the skies illume:
The pale gold blushes into bloom,
Delicate as the flowering
Of first love in the tender spring
Of Life, when love is wizardry
   That over narrow days can throw
   A glamour and a glory! so
Did thine, my Beautiful, for me
   So long ago; so long ago.

So long ago! so long ago!
   Ah, who can Love and Grief estrange?
Or Memory and Sorrow part?
   Lo, in the West another change --
   A deeper glow: a rose of fire:
   A rose of passionate desire
Long burning in a lonely heart.

A lonely heart; a lonely flood.
The wave that glassed her gleaming head
And smiling passed, it does not know
That gleaming head lies dark and low,
The myrtle tree that bends above;
I pray that it may early bud,
For under its green boughs sate we --
We twain, we only, hand in hand,
When Love was lord of all the land --
It does not know that she is dead
And all is over now with love,
Is over now with love and me.

Once more, once more, O shining years
Gone by; once more, O vanished days
Whose hours flew by on iris-wings,
Come back and bring my love to me!
My voice faints down the wooded ways
And dies along the darkling flood.
The past is past; I cry in vain,
For when did Death an answer deign
To Love's heart-broken questionings?
The dead are deaf; dust chokes their ears;
Only the rolling river hears
Far off the calling of the sea --
A shiver strikes through all my blood,
My eyes are full of sudden tears.

The shadows gather over all,
   The valley, and the mountains old;
Shadow on shadow fast they fall
   On glooming green and waning gold;
And on my heart they gather drear,
Damp as with grave-damps, dark with fear.

O Sorrow, Sorrow, couldst thou leave me
   Not one brief hour to dream alone?
Hast thou not all my days to grieve me?
   My nights, are they not all thine own?
Thou hauntest me at morning light,
   Thou blackenest the white moonbeams --
A hollow voice at noon; at night
   A crowned ghost, sitting on a throne,
   Ruling the kingdom of my dreams.

Maker of men, Thou gavest breath,
Thou gavest love to all that live,
Thou rendest loves and lives apart;
Allwise art Thou; who questioneth
Thy will, or who can read Thy heart?
But couldst Thou not in mercy give
A sign to us -- one little spark
Of sure hope that the end of all
Is not concealed beneath the pall,
Or wound up with the winding-sheet?
Who heedeth aught the preacher saith
When eyes wax dim, and limbs grow stark,
And fear sits on the darkened bed?
The dying man turns to the wall.
What hope have we above our dead? --
Tense fingers clutching at the dark,
And hopeless hands that vainly beat
Against the iron doors of Death!

This work is in the public domain in Australia because it was created in Australia and the term of copyright has expired.

See Australian Copyright Council - Duration of Copyright (August 2014).


This work is also in the public domain in the United States because it was in the public domain in Australia in 1996, and no copyright was registered in the U.S. (This is the combined effect of Australia having joining the Berne Convention in 1928, and of 17 USC 104A with its critical date of January 1, 1996.)

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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