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FOUR SONNETS

I.

MY KINGDOM IN THE CLOUDS.

I SAT and gazed into the burning sky
Where, like some dying king, the parting day,
In calm majestic prescience of decay,
Lighted his pyre that he a king might die.
And I, whose thought upsoars on wider wings,
Since thy pure soul has breathed into my life
A quickened kinship with diviner things—
I builded there, remote from din and strife,
A spacious solitude, where thou and I
Might reign untroubled by the pace of time.
How with thy fleetest wish the cloud would thrill,
And, like some sweet, unmeditated rhyme,
Bend with melodious impulse to thy will!
And I, strong in thy love, unquailingly
Would greet the gaze of dread eternity.

II.

THE LILY.

I SAW the lily pale and perfect grow
Amid its silent sisters in the mead.
Methought within its chilly depth to read
A maidenly severity, as though
A cool young life lay slumbering in the snow
Of its frail substance. In that chalice white
Whose fairy texture shone against the light
An unawakened pulse beat faint and slow.
And I remembered, love, thy coy disdain,
When thou my love for thee hadst first divined;
Thy proud, shy tenderness—too proud to felgn
That willful blindness which is yet not blind.
Then toward the sun thy lily-life I turned—
With sudden splendor flushed its chalice burned.

III.

IF THE ROSE COULD SPEAK.

WITHIN the rose I found a trembling tear,
Close curtained in a gloom of crimson night
By tender petals from the outer light.
I plucked the flower and held it to my ear,
And thought within its fervid breast to hear
A smothered heart-beat throbbing soft and low.
I heard its busy life-blood gently flow,
Now far away and now so strangely near.
Ah, thought I, if these silent lips of flame
Could be unsealed and fling into the air
Their woe, their passion, and in speech proclaim
Their warm intoxication of despair;—
Then would I give the rose into thy hand;
Thou couldst its voice, beloved, not withstand.

IV.

THY WONDROUS NAME.

How can I lightly speak thy wondrous name,
Which breathes the airy fragrance of thyself;
As might, far straying from his flower, the elf
Hold yet a breath within his fragile frame
Of the flower?s soul, betraying whence he came?
I too, beloved, though we stray apart,
Since in the vestal temple of thy heart
I dwell secure, glow with a sacred flame.
A breath of thy sweet self unto me clings—
A wondrous voice, as of large unborn deeds,
With deep resoundings through my being rings,
And unto wider realms of vision leads.
And dead to me are sorrow, doubt and pain;
The slumbering god within me wakes again.
Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen [1848-1895]