Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Lyrics.
III. Broken Light
By Emily Pfeiffer (1841–1890)
 
IT was cruel of them to part
  Two hearts in the gladsome spring,
Two lovers’ hearts that had just burst forth
  With each blithe and beautiful thing;
Cruel, but only half—        5
  Had they known how to do us wrong,
They had barr’d the way of the odorous May,
  They had shut out the wild bird’s song.
 
Your kisses were so embalm’d
  With spices of beech and fir,        10
That they haunt my lips in the dead o’ the night
  If the night-winds do but stir;
When I rise with the rising dawn,
  To let in the dewy south,
Like a fountain’s spray, or the pride of the day,        15
  They fall on my thirsty mouth.
 
They should never have let our love
  Abroad in the wild free woods,
If they meant it to slumber on, cold and tame,
  As the lock’d-up winter floods;        20
They should never have let it hide
  ’Neath the beeches’ lucent shade,
Or the up-turn’d arch of the tender larch
  That blush’d as it heaved and sway’d.
 
Now the young and passionate year        25
  Is no longer itself, but you;
Its conniving woods, with their raptures and thrills,
  You have leaven’d them through and through.
The troubadour nightingale
  And the dove that o’erbends the bough,        30
Have both learnt, and teach, the trick of your speech,
  As they echo it vow for vow.
 
My heart is heavy for scorn,
  Mine eyes with impatient tears,
But the heaven looks blue through the cherry-blooms,        35
  And preaches away my fears!
From the burning bush of the gorse,
  Alive with murmurous sound,
I hear a voice, and it says, ‘Rejoice!’
  I stand as on holy ground.        40
 
O flower of life! O Love!
  God’s love is at thy root;
They may dim thy glory, but cannot blight
  Or hinder thy golden fruit.
Yet all the same, I am mad,        45
  However the end may fall,
That they dare to wring, in the gladsome spring,
  Two hearts that were gladdest of all.
 
 
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