Menken, Adah Isaacs
O FOOLISH tears, go back!
Learn to cover your jealous pride far down in the
nerveless heart that ye are voices for.
Your sobbings mar the unfinished picture that my trembling
life would fill up to greet its dawn.
I know, poor heart, that you are reaching up to a Love
that finds not all its demands in thy weak pulse.
And I know that you sob up your red tears to my face,
because--because-- others who care less for his dear Love
may, each day, open their glad eyes his lightest wish to
But, jealous heart, we will not give him from drops that
overflow thy rim.
We will fathom the mysteries of earth, of air and of sea,
to fill thy broad life with beauty, and then empty all its
very depths of light deep into his wide soul!
Ah! When I am a cloud-- a pliant, floating cloud--I
will haunt the Sun-God for some eternal ray of Beauty.
I will wind my soft arms around the wheels of his
blazing chariot, till he robes me in gorgeous trains of gold!31I will sing to the stars till they crown me with their
I will plead to the angels for the whitest, broadest wings
that ever walled their glorious heights around a dying
Then I will flaunt my light down the steep grooves of
space into this dark, old world, until Eyes of Love will
brighten for me!
When I am a flower--a wild, sweet flower--I will open
my glad blue eyes to one alone.
I will bloom in his footsteps, and muffle their echoes
with my velvet lips.
So near him will I grow that his breath shall mark
kisses on all my green leaves!
I will fill his deep soul with all the eternal fragrance of
Yes, I will be a violet--a wild sweet violet--and sigh
my very life away for him!
When I am a bird--a white-throated bird--all trimmed
in plumage of crimson and gold, I will sing to one alone.
I will come from the sea--the broad blue sea--and
fold my wings with olive-leaves to the glad tidings of his
I will come from the forest--the far old forest--where
sighs and tears of reckless loves have never moaned away
the morning of poor lives.
I will come from the sky, with songs of an angel, and
flutter into his soul to see how I may be all melody to
Yes, I will be a bird--a loving, docile bird-- and furl my
wild wings, and shut my sad eyes in his breast!
When I am a wave--a soft, white wave--I will run up
from ocean's purple spheres, and murmur out my low sweet
voice to one alone.
I will dash down to the cavern of gems and life up to
his eyes Beauty that will drink light from the Sun!
I will bring blue banners that angels have lost from the
Yes, I will be a wave-- a happy, dancing wave--and leap
up in the sunshine to lay my crown of spray-pearls at his
Alas! poor heart, what am I now?
A weed--a frail, bitter weed-- growing outside the garden
All day straining my dull eyes to see the blossoms
within, as they wave their crimson flags to the wind.
And yet my dark leaves pray to be as glorious as the
My bitter stalks would be as sweet as the violet if they
I try to bloom up into the light.33My poor, yearning soul to Heaven would open its velvet
eyes of fire.
Oh! the love of Beauty through every fibre of my lonely
life is trembling!
Every floating cloud and flying bird draws up jealous
Envy and bleeding Love!
So passionately wild in me is this burning unspeakable
thirst to grow all beauty, all grace, all melody to one--and
to him alone!