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The Troubadour Post by :lumore Category :Poems Author :Madison Julius Cawein Date :November 2011 Read :1285

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The Troubadour

He stood where all the rare voluptuous West,
Like some mad Maenad wine-stained to the breast,
Shot from delirious lips of ruby must
Long, fierce, triumphant smiles wherein hot lust
Swam like a feverish wine exultant tost
High from a golden goblet and so lost.
And all the West, and all the rosy West,
Bathed his frail beauty, hair and throat and breast;
And there he bloomed, a thing of rose and snows,
A passion flower of men of snows and rose
Beneath the casement of her old red tower
Whereat the lady sat, as white a flower
As ever blew in Provence, and the lace,
Mist-like about her hair, half hid her face
And all its moods which his sweet singing raised,
Sad moods that censured it, sweet moods that praised.
And where the white rose climbing over and over
Up to her wide-flung lattice like a lover,
And gladiolas and deep fleurs-de-lis
Held honey-cups up for the violent bee,
Within her garden by the ivied wall,
Where many a fountain falling musical
Flamed fire-fierce in the eve against it flung,
Like some mad nightingale the minstrel sung:--

"The passion, O! of plunging through and through
Lascivious curls star-litten as light dew,
And jeweled thick, as is the bosomed dusk
Dense scintillant with stars! Oh frenzy rare
Of twisting curling fingers in thy hair!
No touch of balm-beat winds from torrid seas
Were half so satin-soft in sorceries!
No god-like life so sweet as lost to lie
Wrapped strand on strand deep in such hair and die,
Ah love, sweet love!

"The mounting madness and the rapturous pain
With fingers wound in thick, cool curls to strain
All the wild sight deep in thy perilous eyes
So agate polished, where the thoughts that rise
Warm in the heart, like on a witch's glass
Must forth in pictures beautiful and pass;
No Siren sweetness wailed to lyres of gold,
No naked beauty that the Greeks of old
God-bosomed thro' the bursting foam did see
Were potent, love, to tear mine eyes from thee,
Ah love, sweet love!

"Far o'er the sea of old time once a witch,
The fair Ææan, Circe, dwelt, so rich
In marvelous magic, cruel as a god,
She made or unmade lovers at a nod;
Ah, bitter love that made all loves but brute!--
Ah, bitterer thou who mak'st my heart a lute
To lie and languish for thee sad and mute,
Strung high for utterance of the sweetest lay,
Such magic music as Acrasia
And all her lovers swooned to utter bliss,--
And then not wake it with a single kiss,
Ah! cruel, cruel love!"

Knee-deep within the dew-damp grasses there,
Against the stars, that now were everywhere
Flung thro' the perfumed heav'ns of angel hands,
And, linked in tangled labyrinths of bands
Of soft rose-hearted flame and glimmer, rolled
One vast immensity of mazy gold,
He sang, like some hurt creature desolate,
Heart-aching for the loss of some wild mate
Hounded and speared to death of heartless men
In old romantic Arden waste; and then
Turned to the one white star,--which like a stone
Of precious worth low on the heaven shone,--
A white, sweet, lovely face and passed away
From the warm flowers and the fountains' spray.
And that fair lady in pale drapery,
High in the quaint, red tower, did she sigh
To see him, dimming down the purple night,
Lone with his instrument die out of sight
Far in the rose-pleached, musk-drunk avenues,
Far in, far in amid the gleaming dews,
And, left alone but with the sighing rush
Of the wan fountains and the deep night hush,
Weep to the melancholy stars above
Half the lorn night for the desired love?
Or down the rush-strewn halls, where arras old
Billowed with passage of her fold on fold,
Even to the ponderous iron-studded gate,
That shrieked with rust, steal from her lord and wait
Deep in the dingled hyacinth and rose
For him who sang so sweetly erst?--who knows?


(The end)
Madison Julius Cawein's poem: Troubadour

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