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Full Online Book HomePoemsA Villa On The Bay Of Naples
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A Villa On The Bay Of Naples Post by :denise Category :Poems Author :John Presland Date :November 2011 Read :1854

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A Villa On The Bay Of Naples

The crescent's single line of white
Above the pointed cypress tree,
Was all there was of any light
Upon the earth and on the sea;
(Black was the bay of Naples.)

"And ah," she said, "why have you come
Unbidden on my balcony,
This midnight hour, close and dumb;
What is it you would have of me,
Here by the bay of Naples?"

"Now having knit, untie the knot,"
Said he; "you drew me from afar,
Or having willed or willed it not,
Your face shone on me like a star
Above the bay of Naples.

"Oh, know you not, fair star of love,
The thought of you is like new wine,
Or strong sweet air on heights above,
For mortal senses too divine----"
(Black was the bay of Naples.)

Her lamp beside the window set
The woman, and the light shone out
A yellow glimmer in the jet
Of darkness, that lay all about
The outstretched bay of Naples.

But "Nay" she said, and laughed with scorn.
And also with a little pride;
"My lover comes before the morn,
And, if he find you, woe betide
Beside the bay of Naples.

"Now get you gone in very deed,
While time is yet for you to go,
Behold, I beg you at my need;
How black the chilly waters flow
Around the bay of Naples!"

"Ah, do you think I am afraid,"
Said he, "of man that sees the light?
If God himself command had laid
To leave you, I should stay to-night."
(Black was the bay of Naples).

The trouble grew within her eyes,
She seemed to feel, as in a dream,
The ruling force in love that lies;
She veiled the lamplight's yellow gleam
From the black bay of Naples.

"Ah me," she said, "you tarry yet,
And late and chilly grows the night,
To-morrow shall my lamp be set
To guide you hither with its light,"
Across the bay of Naples.

"To-morrow then, to-morrow's years.
I will be yours, but go to-night."
And dimly through the mist of tears
She saw the crescent's line of white,
High o'er the bay of Naples.

"To-morrow for to-morrow be!
To-night is all I ask and need,
I cannot loose love's core," said he,
"Once to my hand it has been freed"
(Black was the bay of Naples).

"Nay, death may follow love! 'Tis fit
That life being empty, should be cast
Carelessly into darkness' pit,
Be one with all the life that's past"
(Black was the bay of Naples).

"Only compress the joy of years,
Summers and seasons, nights and noons,
To these short hours, where there appears,
As of a mighty god that swoons,
The sea's black arm round Naples.

"Oh, black beneath us are the trees,
And black the weary line of hills,
With all life's joy, and light, and ease,
This room your radiant presence fills"
(Black was the bay of Naples).

"And ah," said he, "I'll give my soul
To lie beneath your foot in hell,
That you may walk unscorched and whole--
Can other lovers love so well?"
(Black was the bay of Naples).

She took his hand and drew him in.
She quenched the lamplight's yellow gleam;
The moon was like a sabre thin,
The one white thing in all that dream
Of black that lay on Naples.


(The end)
John Presland's poem: Villa On The Bay Of Naples

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