Orion, and Other Poems

by Charles G.D. Roberts


 

AMORIS VINCULA


 

SUBTLER than all sorceries
This tender breath upon mine eyes;
Surer than steel, though soft as air,
These fetters of caressing hair;
Yet they gall not me, nor smart,                                                        
5
Heart-fast to a girlish heart.

Wakes upon the quiet night
Clamor of strife of might and right,
And bears unto a girlish ear
Vague messages of pain and fear,                                                   
10
And girlish arms more close enlace
To shield me in their weak embrace.

Ah, I too had girded me
And stood among the strong and free,—
Had struck, and shrunk not, for the right,                                        
15
Amid the red death of the fight,—
Had fought and won, or fallen with them
That wear the hero’s diadem.

I even now were smiting strong
In the front ranks, to smite the wrong,                                             
20
But a girlish voice saith nay,—
Bids me stay, and I must stay:
Let Freedom rise, or faint, or fall,
Here is my faith, my fame, my all.