Chamber Music V.

                                        Poems by James Joyce.


     Strings in the earth and air
     Make music sweet;
     Strings by the river where
     The willows meet.

     There's music along the river
     For Love wanders there,
     Pale flowers on his mantle,
     Dark leaves on his hair.

     All softly playing,
     With head to the music bent,
     And fingers straying
     Upon an instrument.


     The twilight turns from amethyst
     To deep and deeper blue,
     The lamp fills with a pale green glow
     The trees of the avenue.

     The old piano plays an air,
     Sedate and slow and gay;
     She bends upon the yellow keys,
     Her head inclines this way.

     Shy thought and grave wide eyes and hands
     That wander as they list—
     The twilight turns to darker blue
     With lights of amethyst.


     At that hour when all things have repose,
     O lonely watcher of the skies,
     Do you hear the night wind and the sighs
     Of harps playing unto Love to unclose
     The pale gates of sunrise?

     When all things repose, do you alone
     Awake to hear the sweet harps play
     To Love before him on his way,
     And the night wind answering in antiphon
     Till night is overgone?

     Play on, invisible harps, unto Love,
     Whose way in heaven is aglow
     At that hour when soft lights come and go,
     Soft sweet music in the air above
     And in the earth below.


     When the shy star goes forth in heaven
     All maidenly, disconsolate,
     Hear you amid the drowsy even
     One who is singing by your gate.
     His song is softer than the dew
     And he is come to visit you.

     O bend no more in revery
     When he at eventide is calling.
     Nor muse: Who may this singer be
     Whose song about my heart is falling?
     Know you by this, the lover's chant,
     'Tis I that am your visitant.


     Lean out of the window,
     I hear you singing
     A merry air.

     My book was closed,
     I read no more,
     Watching the fire dance
     On the floor.

     I have left my book,
     I have left my room,
     For I heard you singing
     Through the gloom.

     Singing and singing
     A merry air,
     Lean out of the window,


     I would in that sweet bosom be
     (O sweet it is and fair it is!)
     Where no rude wind might visit me.
     Because of sad austerities
     I would in that sweet bosom be.

     I would be ever in that heart
     (O soft I knock and soft entreat her!)
     Where only peace might be my part.
     Austerities were all the sweeter
     So I were ever in that heart.


     My love is in a light attire
     Among the apple-trees,
     Where the gay winds do most desire
     To run in companies.

     There, where the gay winds stay to woo
     The young leaves as they pass,
     My love goes slowly, bending to
     Her shadow on the grass;

     And where the sky's a pale blue cup
     Over the laughing land,
     My love goes lightly, holding up
     Her dress with dainty hand.


     Who goes amid the green wood
     With springtide all adorning her?
     Who goes amid the merry green wood
     To make it merrier?

     Who passes in the sunlight
     By ways that know the light footfall?
     Who passes in the sweet sunlight
     With mien so virginal?

     The ways of all the woodland
     Gleam with a soft and golden fire—
     For whom does all the sunny woodland
     Carry so brave attire?

     O, it is for my true love
     The woods their rich apparel wear—
     O, it is for my own true love,
     That is so young and fair.


     Winds of May, that dance on the sea,
     Dancing a ring-around in glee
     From furrow to furrow, while overhead
     The foam flies up to be garlanded,
     In silvery arches spanning the air,
     Saw you my true love anywhere?
     Welladay! Welladay!
     For the winds of May!
     Love is unhappy when love is away!


     Bright cap and streamers,
     He sings in the hollow:
     Come follow, come follow,
                All you that love.
     Leave dreams to the dreamers
     That will not after,
     That song and laughter
                Do nothing move.

     With ribbons streaming
     He sings the bolder;
     In troop at his shoulder
                The wild bees hum.
     And the time of dreaming
     Dreams is over—
     As lover to lover,
                Sweetheart, I come.


     Bid adieu, adieu, adieu,
     Bid adieu to girlish days,
     Happy Love is come to woo
     Thee and woo thy girlish ways—
     The zone that doth become thee fair,
     The snood upon thy yellow hair,

     When thou hast heard his name upon
     The bugles of the cherubim
     Begin thou softly to unzone
     Thy girlish bosom unto him
     And softly to undo the snood
     That is the sign of maidenhood.


     What counsel has the hooded moon
     Put in thy heart, my shyly sweet,
     Of Love in ancient plenilune,
     Glory and stars beneath his feet—
     A sage that is but kith and kin
     With the comedian Capuchin?

     Believe me rather that am wise
     In disregard of the divine,
     A glory kindles in those eyes
     Trembles to starlight. Mine, O Mine!
     No more be tears in moon or mist
     For thee, sweet sentimentalist.


     Go seek her out all courteously,
     And say I come,
     Wind of spices whose song is ever
     O, hurry over the dark lands
     And run upon the sea
     For seas and lands shall not divide us
     My love and me.

     Now, wind, of your good courtesy
     I pray you go,
     And come into her little garden
     And sing at her window;
     Singing: The bridal wind is blowing
     For Love is at his noon;
     And soon will your true love be with you,
     Soon, O soon.


     My dove, my beautiful one,
     Arise, arise!
     The night-dew lies
     Upon my lips and eyes.

     The odorous winds are weaving
     A music of sighs:
     Arise, arise,
     My dove, my beautiful one!

     I wait by the cedar tree,
     My sister, my love,
     White breast of the dove,
     My breast shall be your bed.

     The pale dew lies
     Like a veil on my head.
     My fair one, my fair dove,
     Arise, arise!


     From dewy dreams, my soul, arise,
     From love's deep slumber and from death,
     For lo! the trees are full of sighs
     Whose leaves the morn admonisheth.

     Eastward the gradual dawn prevails
     Where softly-burning fires appear,
     Making to tremble all those veils
     Of grey and golden gossamer.

     While sweetly, gently, secretly,
     The flowery bells of morn are stirred
     And the wise choirs of faery
     Begin (innumerous!) to be heard.


     O cool is the valley now
     And there, love, will we go
     For many a choir is singing now
     Where Love did sometime go.
     And hear you not the thrushes calling,
     Calling us away?
     O cool and pleasant is the valley
     And there, love, will we stay.


     Because your voice was at my side
     I gave him pain,
     Because within my hand I held
     Your hand again.

     There is no word nor any sign
     Can make amend—
     He is a stranger to me now
     Who was my friend.


     O Sweetheart, hear you
     Your lover's tale;
     A man shall have sorrow
     When friends him fail.

     For he shall know then
     Friends be untrue
     And a little ashes
     Their words come to.

     But one unto him
     Will softly move
     And softly woo him
     In ways of love.

     His hand is under
     Her smooth round breast;
     So he who has sorrow
     Shall have rest.


     Be not sad because all men
     Prefer a lying clamour before you:
     Sweetheart, be at peace again—
     Can they dishonour you?

     They are sadder than all tears;
     Their lives ascend as a continual sigh.
     Proudly answer to their tears:
     As they deny, deny.


     In the dark pine-wood
     I would we lay,
     In deep cool shadow
     At noon of day.

     How sweet to lie there,
     Sweet to kiss,
     Where the great pine-forest
     Enaisled is!

     Thy kiss descending
     Sweeter were
     With a soft tumult
     Of thy hair.

     O unto the pine-wood
     At noon of day
     Come with me now,
     Sweet love, away.


     He who hath glory lost, nor hath
     Found any soul to fellow his,
     Among his foes in scorn and wrath
     Holding to ancient nobleness,
     That high unconsortable one—
     His love is his companion.


     Of that so sweet imprisonment
     My soul, dearest, is fain—
     Soft arms that woo me to relent
     And woo me to detain.
     Ah, could they ever hold me there
     Gladly were I a prisoner!

     Dearest, through interwoven arms
     By love made tremulous,
     That night allures me where alarms
     Nowise may trouble us;
     But sleep to dreamier sleep be wed
     Where soul with soul lies prisoned.


     This heart that flutters near my heart
     My hope and all my riches is,
     Unhappy when we draw apart
     And happy between kiss and kiss:
     My hope and all my riches—yes!—
     And all my happiness.

     For there, as in some mossy nest
     The wrens will divers treasures keep,
     I laid those treasures I possessed
     Ere that mine eyes had learned to weep.
     Shall we not be as wise as they
     Though love live but a day?


     Silently she's combing,
     Combing her long hair
     Silently and graciously,
     With many a pretty air.

     The sun is in the willow leaves
     And on the dapplled grass,
     And still she's combing her long hair
     Before the looking-glass.

     I pray you, cease to comb out,
     Comb out your long hair,
     For I have heard of witchery
     Under a pretty air,

     That makes as one thing to the lover
     Staying and going hence,
     All fair, with many a pretty air
     And many a negligence.


     Lightly come or lightly go:
     Though thy heart presage thee woe,
     Vales and many a wasted sun,
     Oread let thy laughter run,
     Till the irreverent mountain air
     Ripple all thy flying hair.

     Lightly, lightly—ever so:
     Clouds that wrap the vales below
     At the hour of evenstar
     Lowliest attendants are;
     Love and laughter song-confessed
     When the heart is heaviest.


     Thou leanest to the shell of night,
     Dear lady, a divining ear.
     In that soft choiring of delight
     What sound hath made thy heart to fear?
     Seemed it of rivers rushing forth
     From the grey deserts of the north?

     That mood of thine
     Is his, if thou but scan it well,
     Who a mad tale bequeaths to us
     At ghosting hour conjurable—
     And all for some strange name he read
                In Purchas or in Holinshed.


     Though I thy Mithridates were,
     Framed to defy the poison-dart,
     Yet must thou fold me unaware
     To know the rapture of thy heart,
     And I but render and confess
     The malice of thy tenderness.

     For elegant and antique phrase,
     Dearest, my lips wax all too wise;
     Nor have I known a love whose praise
     Our piping poets solemnize,
     Neither a love where may not be
     Ever so little falsity.


     Gentle lady, do not sing
     Sad songs about the end of love;
     Lay aside sadness and sing
     How love that passes is enough.

     Sing about the long deep sleep
     Of lovers that are dead, and how
     In the grave all love shall sleep:
     Love is aweary now.


     Dear heart, why will you use me so?
     Dear eyes that gently me upbraid,
     Still are you beautiful—but O,
     How is your beauty raimented!

     Through the clear mirror of your eyes,
     Through the soft sigh of kiss to kiss,
     Desolate winds assail with cries
     The shadowy garden where love is.

     And soon shall love dissolved be
     When over us the wild winds blow—
     But you, dear love, too dear to me,
     Alas! why will you use me so?


     Love came to us in time gone by
     When one at twilight shyly played
     And one in fear was standing nigh—
     For Love at first is all afraid.

     We were grave lovers. Love is past
     That had his sweet hours many a one;
     Welcome to us now at the last
     The ways that we shall go upon.


     O, it was out by Donnycarney
     When the bat flew from tree to tree
     My love and I did walk together;
     And sweet were the words she said to me.

     Along with us the summer wind
     Went murmuring—O, happily!—
     But softer than the breath of summer
     Was the kiss she gave to me.


     Rain has fallen all the day.
     O come among the laden trees:
     The leaves lie thick upon the way
     Of memories.

     Staying a little by the way
     Of memories shall we depart.
     Come, my beloved, where I may
     Speak to your heart.


     Now, O now, in this brown land
     Where Love did so sweet music make
     We two shall wander, hand in hand,
     Forbearing for old friendship' sake,
     Nor grieve because our love was gay
     Which now is ended in this way.

     A rogue in red and yellow dress
     Is knocking, knocking at the tree;
     And all around our loneliness
     The wind is whistling merrily.
     The leaves—they do not sigh at all
     When the year takes them in the fall.

     Now, O now, we hear no more
     The vilanelle and roundelay!
     Yet will we kiss, sweetheart, before
     We take sad leave at close of day.
     Grieve not, sweetheart, for anything—
     The year, the year is gathering.


     Sleep now, O sleep now,
     O you unquiet heart!
     A voice crying "Sleep now"
     Is heard in my heart.

     The voice of the winter
     Is heard at the door.
     O sleep, for the winter
     Is crying "Sleep no more."

     My kiss will give peace now
     And quiet to your heart—
     Sleep on in peace now,
     O you unquiet heart!


     All day I hear the noise of waters
     Making moan,
     Sad as the sea-bird is when, going
     Forth alone,
     He hears the winds cry to the water's
     The grey winds, the cold winds are blowing
     Where I go.
     I hear the noise of many waters
     Far below.
     All day, all night, I hear them flowing
     To and fro.


     I hear an army charging upon the land,
     And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees:
     Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand,
     Disdaining the reins, with fluttering ships, the charioteers.
     They cry unto the night their battle-name:
     I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter.
     They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame,
     Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.
     They come shaking in triumph their long, green hair:
     They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore.
     My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
     My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Chamber Music, by James Joyce

Produced by David Reed, and David Widger.


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