Song, on the Water (“Wild with Passion…”)


Wild with passion, sorrow-beladen,
   Bend the thought of thy stormy soul
On its home, on its heaven, the loved maiden;
   And peace shall come at her eyes’ control.
Even so night’s starry rest possesses
   With its gentle spirit these tamed waters,
And bids the wave, with weedy tresses
   Embower the ocean’s pavement stilly
   Where the sea-girls lie, the mermaid-daughters,
      Whose eyes, not born to weep,
      More palely-lidded sleep,
   Than in our fields the lily;
      And sighing in their rest
         More sweet than is its breath;
         And quiet as its death
            Upon a lady’s breast.


Heart high-beating, triumph-bewreathed,
   Search the record of loves gone by,
And borrow the blessings by them bequeathed
   To deal from out of thy victory’s sky.
Even so, throughout the midnight deep,
   The silent moon doth seek the bosoms
Of those dear mermaid-girls asleep,
   To feed its dying rays anew,
   Like to the bee on earthly blossoms,
      Upon their silvery whiteness,
      And on the rainbow brightness
   Of their eyelashes’ dew,
      And kisseth their limbs o’er:
         Her lips where they do quaff
         Strike starry tremors off,
            As from the waves our oar.

[Kelsall, 1851]