The Triumph of Love
The Triumph of Love
Govinda Krishna Chettur, The Triumph of Love (Mangalore, India: Basel Mission Bookshop, n.d. British Library 11655.aaa.2
1Dearest, and yet more dear than I can tell
2 In these poor halting rhymes, when, word by word,
3 You spell the passion that your beauty stirred
4Swiftly to flame, and holds me as a spell,
5You will not think he writeth "ill" or "well",
6 Nor question make of the fond truths averred,
7 But Love, of that, by Love's self charactered,
8 A perfect understanding shall impel.
9 Therefore do I seek comfort in this wise:
10 That though my song have neither grace, nor wit,
11 Yet, of your tenderness, there shall arise
12 A lasting beauty in each line that's writ;
13 For it shall find a meaning in your eyes,
14 And hungry-hearted love shall perfect it.
15Brave words we mouthed at parting, though your lips
16 Trembled a little palely as we kissed:
17I said: "Dear love, grey Time that ever strips
18 The glory from the rose shall go unmissed,
19 And nought shall change; our love shall be as fair
20 And proudly joyous as when first we met."
21 You said: "Mine own, true love knows no despair,
22 And we have loved, and we can never forget."
23 I held you closely, whispering, "Dearest one,
24 Take heart of God, for love is in God's keeping--"
25 And then 'twas time, and I must needs be gone,
26 And once we kissed, though both of us were weeping.
27 "Sweetheart--" you sobbed, but I had fled heart-broken,
28 And Love's last words, for love, were left unspoken.
29These are the secret dreams of passionate youth:
30 To be so wise, that the dim after years
31 Shall hold no wisdom new, nor any fears,
33 In the clear eye of Truth to be most pure,
34 To battle nobly with Joy's shining spears,
35 Know Sorrow to the uttermost of tears,
36 And Pain, and Passion's scourge, and Love's sweet lure.
37 Aye, this, in sum: to touch serenity,
38 Ascending to it by a hundred ways,
39 And Beauty's swift untiring ministry.
40 So, Love may gather when the shadows hover,
41 Proudly, a perfect dream of perfect days,
42 To fashion yet another perfect lover.
43Because, one night my soul reached out and found
44 Yours, in the dim and visionary maze
45 Of dreams, and Love upon the starry ways:
46Because, when, with heart bleeding and eyes bound,
47I stumbled to your feet, you raised and crowned
48 My sorrowing with tears and tender praise:
49 Because, sometimes men dream of perfect days,
50With Death's encircling arms about them wound:
51 Because of this, because of all of this,
52 Am I for ever dreaming of sweet hours,
53 As flowers dream anight of the wind's kiss:
54 For ever fashioning to Love's demands
55 This passionate joy, this wonder that is ours,
56 I that have yearned for the least touch of your hands.
57Wherefore, I make this song for you to sing,
58 Building of dreams and broken harmonies,
59 And shaping it to wondrous ecstasies,
60And even though it be a little thing:
61 That so, may hurt be healed, or joy receive
62 The benediction of a God-like bliss,
63 And none of all our heart-beats beat amiss:
64 That so, we may arise purer and cleave
65 Unto the body of a deathless host,
66 And with new wisdom make more beautiful
67 The soul's desire: that so, the intimate rule
68 Of beauty may unto the uttermost,
69 Yield us, of passion, this all-perfect praise,
70 Ere the dark shadows fall upon our days.
71The years have dowered you with heavenly grace,
72 And beauty fairer than is mortal's due,
73As though the gods had dreamt of some proud race
74 In fashioning the wonder that is you,
75 Compact of universal loveliness,
76 And one swift cast into the broken night
77 Set you amongst us thus, that Love might bless
78 Himself and you for this thrice blessed sight.
79 But no! Not ever thus! -- Although you held
80 Ten years agone, the promise of this noon,
81 And he, that knew you then, this hour had spelled:
82 As who, far gazing on the frail new moon,
83 Glimpses, all suddenly, the shadowed whole,
85O how I love you, love you! -- Who shall say
86 It is not love but that most pitiful thing
87 Misnamed of love: for such sweet passioning
88Have men ere now deserved immortal clay.
89 I love the glory of your womanhood,
90 And the slow passion of my smouldering verse
91 To sudden and swift flame your beauty stirs:
92 But now the shadow of this quietude
93 Beats on the broken doors of misery:
94 Nor song nor laughter shall there any more
95 Rise from the heart of dream: these things are o'er:
97 And the lorn echo, in my heart, of things
98 Beyond all utterance, that the twilight brings.
99The sparrows cease their chirping in the eaves,
100 Deepens the hush, as the grey shadows fall,
101 And the white moon's ray creeps upon the wall
102With tender tracery of windy leaves:
103Away upon the plain a dimness heaves,
104 For Night's old wizardry compelleth all:
105 Along remembered paths, the old stars crawl,
106And o'er remembered love, the lover grieves.
107 What shall I think on dear, when the proud heart
108 Lies humbled in the dust of vain despair?--
109 How play this part that is all sorrow's part,
110 Who never knew that love should come to this?--
111 Who dreamed a dream most beautiful and fair,
112 Remembering pain of that last pitiful kiss!--
113The sky is not more multitudinous
114 With hope, wanting the moon, than hungry Love,
115That with insatiate longing, clamorous,
116 Filleth the stabbing gloom with dreams thereof,
117 Against the time, when, like the risen moon
118 Flooding the heavens with her pure pale tide
119 And yielding loveliness a lovelier boon,
120 Love, by fulfilment, shall be glorified.
121 For, when, like to the moon, thou shalt attain
122 The zenith of my heart's high altitude,
123 I shall forget the fever and the pain,
124 Forget the bitter and the sorrowful mood,
125 And in the heart of all-compassionate Time,
126 Kindle a flame that shall outlast all rhyme.
127Have I not loved you since the world began?
128 Aye: for your beauty and your gentleness
129 My lonely heart did suddenly possess,
130With that unquiet, that sweet thrill which ran
131 And stirred to music the first lover's heart;
132 That makes a miracle of gladness wake
133 Again in blossom upon heath and brake,
134 Shaming each time, anew, man's careful art.
135 And so the wandering years shall bring to me
136 You, whom I loved and lost: as the rich pride
137 Of leaf and flower to the heart of spring
138 Returneth in its time continually:
139 Wherefore I shall not grieve; but patient-eyed
140 Await again Love's re-awakening.
141It is the woman's soul of you I love,
142 With love beyond the perishing flesh of us,
143 Knowing that in swift moments perilous,
144More than all passion known, here or above,
146 To quell the spirit fiercely mutinous,
147 For love imperiously fashions thus,
148 And gathers seven-fold strength into a vow.
149 And so I shape my way unto the heart
150 Of all things pure and good, as to your feet,
151 Humble,--nay, proud, for sorrow's counterpart
152 Of this our love, that only your quick tears,
153 Fallen from pity, but by love made sweet,
154 May heal beyond the passion of the years.
155They know the impenetrable and dark ways
156 Of the world's sorrow, who have seen like me
157 The shadowed eyes of Beauty bound with pain,
158 Beauty that with the seasons comes again,
159Yielding her meed of light, of gladsome praise:
160 And bud, nor blossom, nor the billowing sea,
161 Nor the slow fires of the starry train,
162Hold the quick spells each owned in other days.
163 But you, O Love, have broken through the gloom,
164 Bringing the healing touch of Love's own art,
165 And I am risen on celestial wings,
166 Out of the horror of this ageless tomb,
167 Unto the holy beauty of your heart,
168 And glory of unutterable things.
169Linger, a little, where the gentle moon
170 Disposes to a sweet melancholy,
171 And gazing on the far unquiet sea
172Of nameless silence, where the glittering noon
173Of worlds unnumbered yields a marvellous boon
174 Of beauty to earth's shadowed canopy,
175 Ponder awhile upon this mystery:
176Here are no fevered changes, late or soon,
177 Nor hate, nor lust, nor all-exacting pride:
178 Only the passion of a perfect plan
179 Controls infinity: and these abide
180 Beyond the sorrows of our mortal span:
181 While we, a wanton hour yield and pass,
182 Tumultuously, like shadows on the grass.
183O love, my love, if only life could be
184 Less burdened with the burden of vain tears,
185 That through the far off silence of the years,
186Have welled in sorrowing eyes continually,
187And love for love's true sake make ministry
188 To sorrow's needs despite a thousand fears,
190Might Love, each morn, declare this constancy!
191 For then would Love not be this pitiful thing
192 Of wanton sighs and endless moaning blent,
193 But clothed with beauty of eternal spring,
195 Of praise and prayer a perfect argument:
196 And there were then the dreaming of great dreams.
197Go look upon the mountains in the haze
198 Of a November morning: how they throw
199 To Heaven the mighty bulwarks of their woe,
200Above the pitiful and wandering ways
201Of dull mortality: come, tell their praise!
202 How steadfast are they, and how great of heart,
203 That with such wondrous patience play the part
204Beyond the passion of our numbered days!
205 We that are here today are gone tomorrow,
206 Yet hide our faces for a nameless dread,
207 And make wild moaning for a ceaseless sorrow,
208 Knowing nor how, nor why, these things should be:
209 And till the end, endure uncomforted,
210 Fretting the heart of peace impatiently.
211O dear my heart, I would not have you do
212 This thing of all the things that love demands:
213 Love has no need of this, nor understands
214These half-desires that pierce us through and through.
215Think what a lovely dream we hold in lieu
216 Of the fond traffic of sweet amorous lands,
217 How mutely borne our pain, and how held hands
218Beneath the moon and smiled, and bravely too!
219 For, where have nested the white birds of Fate
220 No sorrowing is, nor the grim fear of death:
221 For, there, the longings fierce, insatiate,
222 Of men are stilled, and the dim hours pass
223 As in an ecstasy with hushèd breath,
224 And, there, no shadows sweep along the grass.
225Men peer beyond the wisdom of the wise
226 In vain pursuit, and an all-mastering urge
227 Impels them forward from life's dizzy verge
228To pierce the incommunicable skies,
229 Which are the veil before their vanities,
230 Until upon them falls the white-hot scourge
231 That sears the brain: thenceforward, like the surge,
232 Blindly, they beat upon their memories.
233 Love, this were wisdom, ere the heart be spent,
234 In love's sweet prime all Beauty to adore:
235 Life were too brief for pain and languishment,
236 And Beauty's largesse shall all things amend.
237 Therefore, being wise, I'll love you more and more
238 Until of Love and Beauty there be end.
239Sometimes, I linger, where the roses shed
240 Their faded fragrance on the evening air,
241 And flowers that were once most sweet, most fair,
242Fall pale and withered on their pitiless bed:
243Nor take I thought, in grief, that they lie dead,
244 O'ermuch, o'erlong, knowing their beauty rare
245 Lives perfectly in Love's most secret care,
246More beauteous yet, and I am comforted ....
247 And even though you be so far away,
248 And all our sweet companioned ecstasies
249 A memory of pain, the far-flung sway
250 Of your most dear enchantment fills mine eyes
251 With dreams more exquisite than memories,
252 Which love's fulfilment shall immortalise.
253Rejoice this day, for this day love is near,
254 And sunlight gleaming slantwise on the grass,
255 And hope and beauty of all things that pass
256Yet come again with the returning year:
257 They may not die, these things that once were ours;
258 And love, not less, that liveth in the mind:
259 Therefore all ills forget, all griefs that bind,
260 And all unwisdom of unhappy hours:
261 Remembering only the great gift of bliss
262 Love brought to us one shining summer morn,
263 When on my lips you placed that shy sweet kiss:
264 Wherefore we sing all time with passionate praise,
265 Despite of pity and pain and tears forlorn,
266 This loveliness and glory of our days.
267How many golden hours have we won
268 From that grey leaden-fisted miser Time,
269Rich with the suns, the odorous moons that spun,
270 Across this perfect passion of our prime?
271 Love makes no count! -- Sufficient unto each
272 Unmortal moment is the bliss thereof;
273 Tis grief that yearneth every way to reach
274 Remembered rapture by remembered love.
275 Love takes no count! -- Forget the tale, fond lover,
276 Today, the hours are freighted with pure gold;
277 And when the golden days of love are over,
278 And naught remains but as a story told,
279 With benediction of that grace sublime,
280 Life shall unfold love's page a second time.
281Silence, for sweet fulfilment: nay, but see,
282 There, on the margent of the westering tide,
283 Day pauses, now, upon his wearied stride,
284And leans to Night's embrace impatiently.
285Silence, for deep fulfilment: now shall be
286 Content. O hush! let not your murmurous pride
287 Revel against desire: let all things bide:
288The hour is peace, and perfect harmony.
289 There is no stir upon the land or ocean,
290 The world is very quiet from this hill:
291 No whisper here of the great town that strives,
292 Roars in its highways, 'neath us, its commotion
293 Shaking the souls of many thousand lives.
294 But mount! From here, the world is very still.
295I thought, God being so very far away,
296 Farther than I upon this little height,
297 He cannot see nor know our piteous plight,
298Nor how we strive, nor how we fall astray,
299But sets the sun and moon upon their way,
300 And lights the stars, and dreams that all is right
301 As I, even I, in this still shadow of night,
302Might dream that down below no city lay.
303 Then cried I in mine anguish, "Lord, not so,
304 But thus: as I, even I, though from the call
305 Of love be so remote, yet am all-wise,
306 So in proportion doth Thy knowledge go,
307 As God to man, and from the all-seeing skies
308 Knoweth all things, Thy love o'ershadowing all."
309Somewhere, the shadow sweeps upon its way
310 That shall our day engulf in darkest night:
311 Somewhere, the shadow of a dead delight
312Creeps on our wondrous dreams of yesterday:
313 Somewhere, a glory fades into the gloom
314 Of nothingness: somewhere, new glories rise:
315 Between the shadowed and the burning skies
316 Man waits the hour of his passionate doom.
317 Love, when the shadows close upon our dreams
318 And hungry Night leans low upon Desire,
319 We that have passioned sweetly for this thing
320 Shall know no fear, knowing proud Death that seems
321 So fierce, shall pale before the undying fire
322 Of love made holy by our suffering.
323Who that has lived, and loved, and seen fair things,
324 And striven with darkness beating into day,
325With spears dream-pointed, and climbed with wings
326 Above the tumult of the lesser way,
327 Shall speak thereafter slightingly of God?
328 They that have known this brief infinity
329 Are one with the immortals. They have trod
330 The floors of Heaven in Heavenly company,
331 Intoxicate with blessed harmonies.
332 So we, the proud inheritors of love,
333 Grown God-like in unmortal ecstasies,
334 Dream, God-like, of a day that love shall prove
335 Magnificently, in the after years,
336 Beyond the mortal touch of time or tears.
0] "To My Wife" (p. 5), Subhadra. The poet writes of being sent away from his wife and daughter after he has fallen sick of a cancer from which he dies in 1936. Back to Line
32] uncouth: unknown. Back to Line
84] silvern: silver.aureole: halo. Back to Line
96] guerdon: reward. Back to Line
145] enow: enough. Back to Line
189] chanticleers: crowing cocks. Back to Line
194] purpurate: purple. Back to Line
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