Poems by Muriel Stuart Part 1

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Poems by Muriel Stuart is a Webnovel created by Muriel Stuart.
This lightnovel is currently completed.


by Muriel Stuart.


Here in a quiet and dusty room they lie, Faded as crumbled stone or shifting sand, Forlorn as ashes, shrivelled, scentless, dry– Meadows and gardens running through my hand.

Dead that shall quicken at the call of Spring, Sleepers to stir beneath June’s magic kiss, Though birds pa.s.s over, unremembering, And no bee seek here roses that were his.

In this brown husk a dale of hawthorn dreams A cedar in this narrow cell is thrust That will drink deeply of a century’s streams, These lilies shall make summer on my dust.

Here in their safe and simple house of death, Sealed in their sh.e.l.ls a million roses leap; Here I can blow a garden with my breath, And in my hand a forest lies asleep.



I am one of the wind’s stories, I am a fancy of the rain,– A memory of the high noon’s glories, The hint the sunset had of pain.


They dreamed me as they dreamed all other; Hawthorn and I, I and the gra.s.s, With sister shade and phantom brother Across their slumber glide and pa.s.s.


Twilight is in my blood, my being Mingles with trees and ferns and stones; Thunder and stars my lips are freeing, And there is sea-rack in my bones.


Those that have dreamed me shall out-wake me, But I go hence with flowers and weeds; I am no more to those who make me Than other drifting fruit and seeds.


And though I love them–mourn to leave them– Sea, earth and sunset, stars and streams, My tears, my pa.s.sing do not grieve them…

Other dreams have they, other dreams.


If I have given myself to you and you, And if these pale hands are not virginal, Nor these bright lips beneath your own lips true, What matters it? I do not stand nor fall By your old foolish judgments of desire: If this were Helen’s way it is not mine; I bring you beauty, but no Troys to fire: The cup I hold brims not with Borgia’s wine.

You, so soon snared of sudden brows and b.r.e.a.s.t.s, Lightly you think upon these lips, this hair.

My thoughts are kinder: you are pity’s guests: Compa.s.sion’s bed you share.

It was not l.u.s.t delivered me to you; I gave my wondering mouth for pity’s sake, For your strange, sighing lips I did but break Many times this bread, and poured this wine anew.

My body’s woven sweetness and kindling hair Were given for heal of hurts unknown of me, For something I could slake but could not share.

Sudden and rough and cruel I let you be, I gave my body for what the world calls sin, Even as for your souls the Nazarene Gave once. Long years in pity I and He Have served you–Jesus and the Magdalen.

As on the river in the fading light A rust-red sail across the evening creeps, Torching the gloom, and slowly sinks from sight, The blood may rise to some old face at night, Remembering old sins before it sleeps.

So might you hence recall me, were I true To your sad violence. Were I not free So me you might remember now; but you Were no more loved by me Than clouds at sunset, or the wild bird going About his pleasure on the apple tree, Or wide-blown roses swelling to the bee; No sweeter than flowers suddenly found growing In frost-bound dells, or, on the bare, high hills, The gold, unlaced, dew-drunken daffodils Shouting the dawn, or the brown river flowing Down quietly to the sea; Or day in twilight’s hair bound safe and dim, Stirless in lavender, or the wind blowing, Tumbling the poppy’s turban after him.

I knew you as I knew these happy things, Pa.s.sing, unwept, on wide and tranquil wings To their own place in nature; below, above Transient pa.s.sion with its stains and stings.

For this strange pity that you knew not of Was neither l.u.s.t nor love.

Do not repent, nor pity, nor regret.

I do not seek your pardon, nor give you mine.

Pa.s.s by, be silent, drop no tears, forget.

Return not, make no sign When I am dead, nor turn your lips away From Phryne’s silver limbs and Faustine’s kiss.

I need no pity. No word of pity say.

I have given a new sweet name and crown to this That served men’s l.u.s.t and was Aspasia.


There shall be a song for both of us that day Though fools say you have long outlived your songs, And when, perhaps, because your hair is grey, You go unsung, to whom all praise belongs, And no men kiss your hands–your fragile hands Folded like empty sh.e.l.ls on sea-spurned sands.

And you that were dawn whereat men shouted once Are sunset now, with but one worshipper, Then to your twilight heart this song shall be Sweeter than those that did your youth announce For your brave beautiful spirit is lovelier Than once your lovely body was to me.

Your folded hands and your shut eyelids stir A pa.s.sion that Time has crowned with sanct.i.ty.

Young fools shall wonder why, your youth being over, You are so sung still, but your heart will know That he who loved your soul was your true lover And the last song alone was worthy you.


“What did she leave?” …

Only these hungry miser-words, poor heart!

Not “Did she love?” “Did she suffer?” “Was she sad From this green, bright and tossing world to part?”

No word of “Do they miss her? do they grieve?”

Only this wolf-thought for the gold she had…

“What did she leave?”


I am growing old: I have kept youth too long, But I dare not let them know it now.

I have done the heart of youth a grievous wrong, Danced it to dust and drugged it with the rose, Forced its reluctant lips to one more vow.

I have denied the lawful grey, So kind, so wise, to settle in my hair; I belong no more to April, but September has not taught me her repose.

I wish I had let myself grow old in the quiet way That is so gracious…. I wish I did not care.

My faded mouth will never flower again, Under the paint the wrinkles fret my eyes, My hair is dull beneath its henna stain, I have come to the last ramparts of disguise.

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