Till all sweet gums and juices flow,
Till the blossom of blossoms blow,
The long hours go and come and go,
The bride she sleepeth, waketh, sleepeth,
Waiting for one whose coming is slow
:— Hark! the bride weepeth.
'How long shall I wait, come heat come rime?'
— 'Till the strong Prince comes, who must come in time'
(Her women say), 'there's a mountain to climb,
A river to ford. Sleep, dream and sleep;
Sleep' (they say): 'we've muffled the chime,
Better dream than weep.'
In his world-end palace the strong Prince sat,
Taking his ease on cushion and mat,
Close at hand lay his staff and his hat.
'When wilt thou start? the bride waits,
O youth.'— 'Now the moon's at full; I tarried for that,
Now I start in truth.
'But tell me first, true voice of my doom,
Of my veiled bride in her maiden bloom;
Keeps she watch through glare and through gloom,
Watch for me asleep and awake?'
— 'Spell-bound she watches in one white room,
And is patient for thy sake.
'By her head lilies and rosebuds grow;
The lilies droop, will the rosebuds blow?
The silver slim lilies hang the head low;
Their stream is scanty, their sunshine rare:
Let the sun blaze out, and let the stream flow,
They will blossom and wax fair.
'Red and white poppies grow at her feet,
The blood-red wait for sweet summer heat,
Wrapped in bud-coats hairy and neat;
But the white buds swell, one day they will burst,
Will open their death-cups drowsy and sweet
— Which will open the first?'
Then a hundred sad voices lifted a wail,
And a hundred glad voices piped on the gale:
'Time is short, life is short,' they took up the tale:
'Life is sweet, love is sweet, use to-day while you may;
Love is sweet, and to-morrow may fail;
Love is sweet, use to-day.'
The Prince's Progress and Other Poems
1866, ed. McMillan
gravura de Dante Gabriel Rossetti
(feita para a 1ª edição deste livro)