All my life's short years had been stern and sterile --
by Philip Joseph Holdsworth
I stood like one whom the blasts blow back --
As with shipmen whirled through the straits of Peril,
So fierce foes menaced my every track.
But I steeled my soul to a strong endeavour,
I bared my brow as the sharp strokes fell,
And I said to my heart -- "Hope on! Hope ever:
Have Courage -- Courage, and all is well."
Then, bright as the blood in my heart's rich chalice,
O Blossom, Blossom! -- you came from far;
And life rang joy, till the World's loud malice
Shrilled to the edge of our utmost star.
And I said: "On me let the rough storms hurtle,
The great clouds gather and shroud my sun --
But you shall be Queen where the rose and myrtle
Laugh with the year till the year is done."
So my Dream fell dead; and the fluctuant passion --
The stress and strain of the past re-grew,
The world laughed on in its heedless fashion,
But Earth whirled worthless, because of you!
In that Lake of Tears which my grief discovered,
I laid dead Love with a passionate kiss,
And over those soundless depths has hovered
The sweet, sad wraith of my vanished bliss.
Heart clings to Heart -- let the strange years sever
The fates of two who had met -- to part;
Love's strength survives, and the harsh world never
Shall crush the passion of heart for heart;
For I know my life, though it droop and dwindle,
Shall leave me Love till I fade and die,
And when hereafter our Souls re-kindle,
Who shall be fonder -- You or I?