The Triumph of Love

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Dearest, and yet more dear than I can tell In these poor halting rhymes, when, word by word, You spell the passion that your beauty stirredSwiftly to flame, and holds me as a spell,You will not think he writeth "ill" or "well", Nor question make of the fond truths averred, But Love, of that, by Love's self charactered, A perfect understanding shall impel. Therefore do I seek comfort in this wise: That though my song have neither grace, nor wit, Yet, of your tenderness, there shall arise A lasting beauty in each line that's writ; For it shall find a meaning in your eyes, And hungry-hearted love shall perfect it.

Brave words we mouthed at parting, though your lips Trembled a little palely as we kissed:I said: "Dear love, grey Time that ever strips The glory from the rose shall go unmissed, And nought shall change; our love shall be as fair And proudly joyous as when first we met." You said: "Mine own, true love knows no despair, And we have loved, and we can never forget." I held you closely, whispering, "Dearest one, Take heart of God, for love is in God's keeping--" And then 'twas time, and I must needs be gone, And once we kissed, though both of us were weeping. "Sweetheart--" you sobbed, but I had fled heart-broken, And Love's last words, for love, were left unspoken.

These are the secret dreams of passionate youth: To be so wise, that the dim after years Shall hold no wisdom new, nor any fears,For wisdom makes of fear a thing uncouth: In the clear eye of Truth to be most pure, To battle nobly with Joy's shining spears, Know Sorrow to the uttermost of tears, And Pain, and Passion's scourge, and Love's sweet lure. Aye, this, in sum: to touch serenity, Ascending to it by a hundred ways, And Beauty's swift untiring ministry. So, Love may gather when the shadows hover, Proudly, a perfect dream of perfect days, To fashion yet another perfect lover.

Because, one night my soul reached out and found Yours, in the dim and visionary maze Of dreams, and Love upon the starry ways:Because, when, with heart bleeding and eyes bound,I stumbled to your feet, you raised and crowned My sorrowing with tears and tender praise: Because, sometimes men dream of perfect days,With Death's encircling arms about them wound: Because of this, because of all of this, Am I for ever dreaming of sweet hours, As flowers dream anight of the wind's kiss: For ever fashioning to Love's demands This passionate joy, this wonder that is ours, I that have yearned for the least touch of your hands.

Wherefore, I make this song for you to sing, Building of dreams and broken harmonies, And shaping it to wondrous ecstasies,And even though it be a little thing: That so, may hurt be healed, or joy receive The benediction of a God-like bliss, And none of all our heart-beats beat amiss: That so, we may arise purer and cleave Unto the body of a deathless host, And with new wisdom make more beautiful The soul's desire: that so, the intimate rule Of beauty may unto the uttermost, Yield us, of passion, this all-perfect praise, Ere the dark shadows fall upon our days.

The years have dowered you with heavenly grace, And beauty fairer than is mortal's due,As though the gods had dreamt of some proud race In fashioning the wonder that is you, Compact of universal loveliness, And one swift cast into the broken night Set you amongst us thus, that Love might bless Himself and you for this thrice blessed sight. But no! Not ever thus! -- Although you held Ten years agone, the promise of this noon, And he, that knew you then, this hour had spelled: As who, far gazing on the frail new moon, Glimpses, all suddenly, the shadowed whole, About the silvern arc an aureole.

O how I love you, love you! -- Who shall say It is not love but that most pitiful thing Misnamed of love: for such sweet passioningHave men ere now deserved immortal clay. I love the glory of your womanhood, And the slow passion of my smouldering verse To sudden and swift flame your beauty stirs: But now the shadow of this quietude Beats on the broken doors of misery: Nor song nor laughter shall there any more Rise from the heart of dream: these things are o'er: All but Love's guerdon of humility, And the lorn echo, in my heart, of things Beyond all utterance, that the twilight brings.

The sparrows cease their chirping in the eaves, Deepens the hush, as the grey shadows fall, And the white moon's ray creeps upon the wallWith tender tracery of windy leaves:Away upon the plain a dimness heaves, For Night's old wizardry compelleth all: Along remembered paths, the old stars crawl,And o'er remembered love, the lover grieves. What shall I think on dear, when the proud heart Lies humbled in the dust of vain despair?-- How play this part that is all sorrow's part, Who never knew that love should come to this?-- Who dreamed a dream most beautiful and fair, Remembering pain of that last pitiful kiss!--

The sky is not more multitudinous With hope, wanting the moon, than hungry Love,That with insatiate longing, clamorous, Filleth the stabbing gloom with dreams thereof, Against the time, when, like the risen moon Flooding the heavens with her pure pale tide And yielding loveliness a lovelier boon, Love, by fulfilment, shall be glorified. For, when, like to the moon, thou shalt attain The zenith of my heart's high altitude, I shall forget the fever and the pain, Forget the bitter and the sorrowful mood, And in the heart of all-compassionate Time, Kindle a flame that shall outlast all rhyme.

Have I not loved you since the world began? Aye: for your beauty and your gentleness My lonely heart did suddenly possess,With that unquiet, that sweet thrill which ran And stirred to music the first lover's heart; That makes a miracle of gladness wake Again in blossom upon heath and brake, Shaming each time, anew, man's careful art. And so the wandering years shall bring to me You, whom I loved and lost: as the rich pride Of leaf and flower to the heart of spring Returneth in its time continually: Wherefore I shall not grieve; but patient-eyed Await again Love's re-awakening.

It is the woman's soul of you I love, With love beyond the perishing flesh of us, Knowing that in swift moments perilous,More than all passion known, here or above, Such dream of beauty were of power enow, To quell the spirit fiercely mutinous, For love imperiously fashions thus, And gathers seven-fold strength into a vow. And so I shape my way unto the heart Of all things pure and good, as to your feet, Humble,--nay, proud, for sorrow's counterpart Of this our love, that only your quick tears, Fallen from pity, but by love made sweet, May heal beyond the passion of the years.

They know the impenetrable and dark ways Of the world's sorrow, who have seen like me The shadowed eyes of Beauty bound with pain, Beauty that with the seasons comes again,Yielding her meed of light, of gladsome praise: And bud, nor blossom, nor the billowing sea, Nor the slow fires of the starry train,Hold the quick spells each owned in other days. But you, O Love, have broken through the gloom, Bringing the healing touch of Love's own art, And I am risen on celestial wings, Out of the horror of this ageless tomb, Unto the holy beauty of your heart, And glory of unutterable things.

Linger, a little, where the gentle moon Disposes to a sweet melancholy, And gazing on the far unquiet seaOf nameless silence, where the glittering noonOf worlds unnumbered yields a marvellous boon Of beauty to earth's shadowed canopy, Ponder awhile upon this mystery:Here are no fevered changes, late or soon, Nor hate, nor lust, nor all-exacting pride: Only the passion of a perfect plan Controls infinity: and these abide Beyond the sorrows of our mortal span: While we, a wanton hour yield and pass, Tumultuously, like shadows on the grass.

O love, my love, if only life could be Less burdened with the burden of vain tears, That through the far off silence of the years,Have welled in sorrowing eyes continually,And love for love's true sake make ministry To sorrow's needs despite a thousand fears, Then louder than a thousand chanticleers,Might Love, each morn, declare this constancy! For then would Love not be this pitiful thing Of wanton sighs and endless moaning blent, But clothed with beauty of eternal spring, Should build all time, beyond Doubt's purpurate gleams, Of praise and prayer a perfect argument: And there were then the dreaming of great dreams.

Go look upon the mountains in the haze Of a November morning: how they throw To Heaven the mighty bulwarks of their woe,Above the pitiful and wandering waysOf dull mortality: come, tell their praise! How steadfast are they, and how great of heart, That with such wondrous patience play the partBeyond the passion of our numbered days! We that are here today are gone tomorrow, Yet hide our faces for a nameless dread, And make wild moaning for a ceaseless sorrow, Knowing nor how, nor why, these things should be: And till the end, endure uncomforted, Fretting the heart of peace impatiently.

O dear my heart, I would not have you do This thing of all the things that love demands: Love has no need of this, nor understandsThese half-desires that pierce us through and through.Think what a lovely dream we hold in lieu Of the fond traffic of sweet amorous lands, How mutely borne our pain, and how held handsBeneath the moon and smiled, and bravely too! For, where have nested the white birds of Fate No sorrowing is, nor the grim fear of death: For, there, the longings fierce, insatiate, Of men are stilled, and the dim hours pass As in an ecstasy with hushèd breath, And, there, no shadows sweep along the grass.

Men peer beyond the wisdom of the wise In vain pursuit, and an all-mastering urge Impels them forward from life's dizzy vergeTo pierce the incommunicable skies, Which are the veil before their vanities, Until upon them falls the white-hot scourge That sears the brain: thenceforward, like the surge, Blindly, they beat upon their memories. Love, this were wisdom, ere the heart be spent, In love's sweet prime all Beauty to adore: Life were too brief for pain and languishment, And Beauty's largesse shall all things amend. Therefore, being wise, I'll love you more and more Until of Love and Beauty there be end.

Sometimes, I linger, where the roses shed Their faded fragrance on the evening air, And flowers that were once most sweet, most fair,Fall pale and withered on their pitiless bed:Nor take I thought, in grief, that they lie dead, O'ermuch, o'erlong, knowing their beauty rare Lives perfectly in Love's most secret care,More beauteous yet, and I am comforted .... And even though you be so far away, And all our sweet companioned ecstasies A memory of pain, the far-flung sway Of your most dear enchantment fills mine eyes With dreams more exquisite than memories, Which love's fulfilment shall immortalise.

Rejoice this day, for this day love is near, And sunlight gleaming slantwise on the grass, And hope and beauty of all things that passYet come again with the returning year: They may not die, these things that once were ours; And love, not less, that liveth in the mind: Therefore all ills forget, all griefs that bind, And all unwisdom of unhappy hours: Remembering only the great gift of bliss Love brought to us one shining summer morn, When on my lips you placed that shy sweet kiss: Wherefore we sing all time with passionate praise, Despite of pity and pain and tears forlorn, This loveliness and glory of our days.

How many golden hours have we won From that grey leaden-fisted miser Time,Rich with the suns, the odorous moons that spun, Across this perfect passion of our prime? Love makes no count! -- Sufficient unto each Unmortal moment is the bliss thereof; Tis grief that yearneth every way to reach Remembered rapture by remembered love. Love takes no count! -- Forget the tale, fond lover, Today, the hours are freighted with pure gold; And when the golden days of love are over, And naught remains but as a story told, With benediction of that grace sublime, Life shall unfold love's page a second time.

Silence, for sweet fulfilment: nay, but see, There, on the margent of the westering tide, Day pauses, now, upon his wearied stride,And leans to Night's embrace impatiently.Silence, for deep fulfilment: now shall be Content. O hush! let not your murmurous pride Revel against desire: let all things bide:The hour is peace, and perfect harmony. There is no stir upon the land or ocean, The world is very quiet from this hill: No whisper here of the great town that strives, Roars in its highways, 'neath us, its commotion Shaking the souls of many thousand lives. But mount! From here, the world is very still.

I thought, God being so very far away, Farther than I upon this little height, He cannot see nor know our piteous plight,Nor how we strive, nor how we fall astray,But sets the sun and moon upon their way, And lights the stars, and dreams that all is right As I, even I, in this still shadow of night,Might dream that down below no city lay. Then cried I in mine anguish, "Lord, not so, But thus: as I, even I, though from the call Of love be so remote, yet am all-wise, So in proportion doth Thy knowledge go, As God to man, and from the all-seeing skies Knoweth all things, Thy love o'ershadowing all."

Somewhere, the shadow sweeps upon its way That shall our day engulf in darkest night: Somewhere, the shadow of a dead delightCreeps on our wondrous dreams of yesterday: Somewhere, a glory fades into the gloom Of nothingness: somewhere, new glories rise: Between the shadowed and the burning skies Man waits the hour of his passionate doom. Love, when the shadows close upon our dreams And hungry Night leans low upon Desire, We that have passioned sweetly for this thing Shall know no fear, knowing proud Death that seems So fierce, shall pale before the undying fire Of love made holy by our suffering.

Who that has lived, and loved, and seen fair things, And striven with darkness beating into day,With spears dream-pointed, and climbed with wings Above the tumult of the lesser way, Shall speak thereafter slightingly of God? They that have known this brief infinity Are one with the immortals. They have trod The floors of Heaven in Heavenly company, Intoxicate with blessed harmonies. So we, the proud inheritors of love, Grown God-like in unmortal ecstasies, Dream, God-like, of a day that love shall prove Magnificently, in the after years, Beyond the mortal touch of time or tears.

© Govinda Krishna Chettur