The Secret Key and Other Verses

The Song of Gracia

George Essex Evans

And she was called Gracia because she was fairest among women. And many men sought her, but she loved one only


ACROSS the street, across the grass,
Across my life I watch her pass.
No pure star on a dusky height
Hath eyes more bright,
No lily on her emerald bed
A statelier head,
No dewdrop on the beaded thorn
More radiantly doth glow apart!
O, she doth shine all these to scorn
Fair are they all—star, flower, and dew;
She is the green bud breaking thro’
The winter of my heart.
Two violets, seeking Paradise,
Have hid themselves within her eyes.
Her lips are roses. She doth wear
A sunbeam woven in her hair.
And of the foam-flake of the sea
Her cheek and neck and bosom be.

And like a reed the low wind sways
Her slender figure glides along,
Serenely tall and fairy sweet
In this, the springtide of her days.
And O, to make my life a song
And lay it at her feet!

And now the world recedes. Time, Space, are fleeting.
    All things but thee, O Love, have ceased to be.
Here where thy heart against my heart is beating,
    And like a charm thy white arms compass me;
And on thy blue-veined breasts my head is lying,
    And all about my face is blown thy hair.
Here let Love speak his full heart in sweet sighing,
    For speech were powerless now to voice his prayer.
Softly thy breath, like scent of violets blowing,
    Steals o’er my cheek with slow, delicious pain.
Drink whilst thou canst the goblet crowned and flowing,
    For hours like these will never come again.

There is no bud of Spring about this forest,
    And in our hearts, too, are the autumn leaves.
Where are the wings, O Love, on which thou soarest?
    Meeter art thou to toil and bind the sheaves.

But there is mellower light upon our faces,
    Thro’ all our veins the steadier currents flow
The statelier charms remain and friendly graces,
    Tho’ dull and fitful wanes love’s lava-glow.

The slow bell tolls across the square:
    She doth not hear its rise and swell.
The frosts of age have silvered there
The clusters of her sun-gold hair:
        She sleepeth well.

Strange city echoes here are sent
    Of reckless strife for prize and place,
Of hearts with warring passions rent,
But Death’s ineffable content
        Is on her face—

A touch, a joy, a something there
    That for my sake hath never shone;
Too well I deem in my despair
Her fairest dream I may not share,
        And she is gone

Beyond these days of care and ruth
    To those fair stars which poets sing,
Where grows the tree of fadeless Truth
In gardens of Immortal Youth,
        Eternal Spring.

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