A Walk by Moonlight
A Walk by Moonlight
Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, Poems (London: Oxford University Press, 1923); also Gathered Grace (An Anthology of Indian Verse in English), ed. K. R. Ramachandran Nair (New Delphi: Sterling, 1991): 3-5. PR 9495 .25 G37 1991 Robarts Library
1Last night -- it was a lovely night,
2 And I was very blest --
3Shall it not be for Memory
4 A happy spot to rest?
5Yes; there are in the backward past
6 Soft hours to which we turn --
7Hours which, at distance, mildly shine,
8 Shine on, but never burn.
9And some of these but yesternight
10 Across my path were thrown,
11Which made my heart so very light,
12 I think it could have flown.
13I had been out to see a friend
14 With whom I others saw:
15Like minds to like minds ever tend --
16 An universal law.
17And when we were returning home,
18 "Come who will walk with me,
19A little way", I said, and lo!
20 I straight was joined by three:
21Three whom I loved -- two had high thoughts
22 And were, in age, my peers;
23And one was young, but oh! endeared
24 As much as youth endears.
25The moon stood silent in the sky,
26 And looked upon our earth:
27The clouds divided, passing by,
28 In homage to her worth.
29There was a dance among the leaves
30 Rejoicing at her power,
31Who robes for them of silver weaves
32 Within one mystic hour.
33There was a song among the winds,
34 Hymning her influence --
35That low-breathed minstrelsy which binds
36 The soul to thought intense.
37And there was something in the night
38 That with its magic wound us;
39For we -- oh! we not only saw,
40 But felt the moonlight around us.
41How vague are all the mysteries
42 Which bind us to our earth;
43How far they send into the heart
44 Their tones of holy mirth;
45How lovely are the phantoms dim
46 Which bless that better sight,
47That man enjoys when proud he stands
48 In his own spirit's light;
49When, like a thing that is not ours.
50 This earthliness goes by,
51And we behold the spiritualness
52 Of all that cannot die.
53'Tis then we understand the voice
54 Which in the night-wind sings,
55And feel the mystic melody
56 Played on the forest's strings.
57The silken language of the stars
58 Becomes the tongue we speak,
59And then we read the sympathy
60 That pales the young moon's cheek.
61The inward eye is open then
62 To glories, which in dreams
63Visit the sleeper's couch, in robes
64 Woven of the rainbow's beams.
65I bless my nature that I am
66 Allied to all the bliss,
67Which other worlds we're told afford,
68 But which I find in this.
69My heart is bettered when I feel
70 That even this human heart
71To all around is gently bound,
72 And forms of all a part;
73That, cold and lifeless as they seem,
74 The flowers, the stars, the sky
75Have more than common minds may deem
76 To stir our sympathy.
77Oh! in such moments can I crush
78 The grass beneath my feet?
79Ah no; the grass has then a voice,
80 Its heart -- I hear it beat.
RPO poem Editors