More Songs from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey


 

NOCTURNE: IN PROVENCE


 

THE blue night, like an angel, came into the room,—
Came through the open window from the silent sky
Down trellised stairs of moonlight into the dear room
As if a whisper breathed of some divine one nigh.
The nightingales, like brooks of song in Paradise,
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Gurgled their serene rapture to the silent sky—
Like springs of laughter bubbling up in Paradise,
The serene nightingales along the riverside
Purled low in every tree their star-cool melodies
Of joy—in every tree along the riverside.
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Did the vain garments melt in music from your side?
Did you rise from them as a lily flowers i’ the air?
—But you were there before me like the Night’s own bride—
I dared not call you mine. So still and tall you were,
I never dreamed that you were mine—I never dreamed
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I loved you—I forgot I loved you. You were air
And music, and the shadows that you stood in, seemed
Like priests that keep their sombre vigil round a shrine—
Like sombre priests that watch about a glorious shrine.

And then you stepped into the moonlight and laid bare

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The wonder of your body to the night, and stood
With all the stars of heaven looking at you there,
As simply as a saint might bare her soul to God—
As simply as a saint might bathe in lakes of prayer—
Stood with the holy moonlight falling on you there
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Until I thought that in a glory unaware
I had seen a soul stand forth and bare itself to God—
A saintly soul lay bare its innocence to God.