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Ianthe
by Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864)

I.

often ask upon whose arm she leans,
She whom I dearly love;
And if she visit much the crowded scenes
Where mimic passions move.
There, mighty powers! assert your just controul,
Alarm her thoughtless breast;
Breathe soft suspicion o'er her yielding soul--
But never break its rest.
O let some faithful lover, absent long,
To sudden bliss return;
Then Landor's name shall tremble from her tongue,
Her cheek through tears shall burn.

II.

Away my verse; and never fear,
As men before such beauty do;
On you she will not look severe,
She will not turn her eyes from you.

That in her memory you should live,
Some happier graces could I lend
Some little blemishes might blend . .
For it would please her to forgive.

III.

Past ruin'd Ilion Helen lives,
Alcestis rises from the shades;
Verse calls them forth; 'tis verse that gives
Immortal youth to mortal maids.

Soon shall Oblivion's deepening veil
Hide all the peopled hills you see,
The gay, the proud, while lovers hail
In distant ages you and me.

The tear for fading beauty check,
For passing glory cease to sigh;
One form shall rise above the wreck,
One name, Ianthe, shall not die.

IV.

Ianthe! you resolve to cross the sea!
A path forbidden me!
Remember, while the Sun his blessing sheds
Upon the mountain-heads,
How often we have watcht him laying down
His brow, and dropt our own
Against each other's, and how faint and short
And sliding the support!
What will succede it now? Mine is unblest,
Ianthe! nor will rest
But on the very thought that swells with pain.
O bid me hope again!
O give me back what Earth, what (without you)
Not Heaven itself can do--
One of the golden days that we have past,
And let it be my last!
Or else the gift would be, however sweet,
Fragile and incomplete.

V.

Ianthe! since our parting day
Pleasure and you were long away.
Leave you then all that strove to please
In proud Vienna's palaces
To soothe your Landor's heart agen
And roam once more our hazel glen?
About my temples what a hum
Of freshly wakened thoughts is come!
Ah! not without a throb or two
That shake me as they used to do.
Where alders rise up dark and dense
But just behind the wayside fence,
A stone there is in yonder nook
Which once I borrowed of the brook;
And the first hind who fain would cross
Must leap five yards or feel its loss.
You sate beside me on that stone,
Rather (not much) too wide for one.
Untoward stone! and never quite
(Tho' often very near it) right,
And putting to sore shifts my wit
To roll it out, then steady it,
And then to prove that it must be
Too hard for any one but me.
Ianthe haste! ere June declines
We'll write upon it all these lines.

VI. To Fisher the Artist

Conceal not Time's misdeeds, but on my brow
Retrace his mark:
Let the retiring hair be silvery now
That once was dark:
Eyes that reflected images too bright
Let clouds o'ercast,
And from the tablet be abolisht quite
The cheerful past.
Yet Care's deep lines should one from waken'd Mirth
Steal softly o'er,
Perhaps on me the fairest of the earth
May glance once more,

VII.

The torch of Love dispels the gloom
Of life, and animates the tomb;
But never let it icily flare
On gazers in the open air,
Nor turn it quite away from one
To whom it serves for moon and sun,
And who alike in night or day
Without it could not find his way.

VIII.

Soon, O Ianthe! life is o'er,
And sooner beauty's heavenly smile
Grant only (and I ask no more),
Let love remain that little while.

IX.

It often comes into my head
That we may dream when we are dead,
But I am far from sure we do.
O that it were so! then my rest
Would be indeed among the blest;
I should for ever dream of you.

X.

From you, Ianthe, little troubles pass
Like little ripples down a sunny river;
Your pleasures spring like daisies in the grass,
Cut down, and up again as blithe as ever;

XI.

You tell me I must come again
Now buds and blooms appear:
Ah! never fell one word in vain
Of yours on mortal ear.

You say the birds are busy now
In hedgerow, brake, and grove,
And slant their eyes to find the bough
That best conceals their love:
How many warble from the spray!
How many on the wing!
'Yet, yet,' say you, 'one voice away
I miss the sound of spring.'
How little could that voice express,
Beloved, when we met!
But other sounds hath tenderness,
Which neither shall forget.

XII.

On the smooth brow and clustering hair
Myrtle and rose! your wreath combine;
The duller olive I would wear,
Its constancy, its peace, be mine.

XIII.

Pursuits! alas, I now have none,
But idling where were once pursuits,
Often, all morning quite alone,
I sit upon those twisted roots
Which rise above the grass, and shield
Our harebell, when the churlish year
Catches her coming first afield;
And she looks pale tho' spring is near;
I chase the violets, that would hide
Their little prudish heads away,
And argue with the rills, that chide
When we discover them at play.

XIV.

No, thou hast never griev'd but I griev'd too;
Smiled thou hast often when no smile of mine
Could answer it. The sun himself can give
But little colour to the desert sands.

XV.

Proud word you never spoke, but you will speak
Four not exempt from pride some future day.
Resting on one white hand a warm wet cheek
Over my open volume you will say,
'This man loved me!' then rise and trip away.

XVI.

No, my own love of other years!
No, it must never be.
Much rests with you that yet endears,
Alas! but what with me?
Could those bright years o'er me revolve
So gay, o'er you so fair,
The pearl of life we would dissolve
And each the cup might share.
You show that truth can ne'er decay,
Whatever fate befals;
I, that the myrtle and the bay
Shoot fresh on ruin'd walls.

XVII.

'Do you remember me? or are you proud?'
Lightly advancing thro' her star-trimm'd crowd,
Ianthe said, and lookt into my eyes.
'A yes, a yes, to both: for Memory
Where you but once have been must ever be,
And at your voice Pride from his throne must rise.'

XVIII.

Many may yet recal the hours
That saw thy lover's chosen flowers
Nodding and dancing in the shade
Thy dark and way tresses made:

On many a brain is pictured yet
Thy languid eye's dim violet:
But who among them all foresaw
How the sad snows which never thaw
Upon that head one day should lie,
And love but glimmer from that eye!

XIX.

Twenty years hence my eyes may grow
If not quite dim, yet rather so, Still yours from other they shall know
Twenty years hence.
Twenty years hence tho' it may hap
That I be call'd to take a nap
In a cool cell where thunder-clap
Was never heard.
There breathe but o'er my arch of grass

not too sadly sigh'd Alas,
And I shall catch, ere you can pass,
That winged word.

XX.

There is a flower I wish to wear,
But not until first worne by you..
Hearts-ease. . of all Earth's flowers most rare;
Bring it; and bring enough for two.

XXI.

Thou Cyclamen of crumpled horn
Toss not thy head aside;
Repose it where the Loves were born,
In that warm dell abide.

Whatever flowers, on mountain, field.
Or garden, may arise,
Thine only that pure odor yield
Which never can suffice.
Emblem of her I've loved so long,
Go, carry her this little song.

XXII.

Well I remember how you smiled
To see me write your name upon
The soft sea-sand . . . 'O! what a child!
You think you're writing upon stone!'
I have since written what no tide
Shall ever wash away, what men
Unborn shall read o'er ocean wide
And find Ianthe's name agen.

XXIII.

Versailles! Versailles! thou shalt not keep
Her whom this heart yet holds most dear:
In her own country she shall sleep;
Her epitaph be graven here.

XXIV.

Though other friends have died in other days,
One grave there is where memory sinks and stays.

XXV.

My pictures blacken in their frames
As night comes on,
And youthful maids and wrinkled dames
Are now all one.

Death of the day! a sterner Death
Did worse before;
The fairest form, the sweetest breath,
Away he bore.

Read more about Walter Savage Landor at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


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Enjoy and happy loving!

Irene

 


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