Wild Garden

by Bliss Carman


 

SLEEPING BEAUTY


 

When Beauty slept in the forest old
With gleaming breast and her hair of gold,

And the days went by with never a stir
That could reach her heart and waken her,

I was the Fortunate Prince who came

5

To touch her lips with the sacred flame,

And kindle her pulse’s ebb and flow
With the warmth of life it used to know

Before some evil enchantment stole
Like a blight of frost on her flowering soul.

10


I was the envoy of Love’s desire
To quicken her life with holy fire.

Her eyelids fluttered, her bosom heaved
Like virginal woods of spring new-leaved,

When shimmering heats across them run

15

At the first warm touch of wakening sun.

She opened her eyes, and over me
Flooded a glory of sunlit sea.

A shudder of joy through her being ran
Like the stir of dawn when the first day began.

20


‘The passion of earth so long unlearned
Through her slim white body swept and burned,

For love in her was as if a star
Were lighted within a porcelain jar.

All of love I had dreamed of old

25

She gave me again a hundredfold—

The wine of ardor, the bread of truth,
And the golden robe of triumphant youth.

There in the dusk of the haunted wood
Under the spell of life we stood,

30

While the great moon, wondrous white and still,
The Lantern of Lovers, rose over the hill.