Menella Bute Smedley

Once

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Sing to me, nightingale, that sweet tune
You sang last night to the waning moon!
It filled the shadow, it pierced the light;
It made a day in the midst of night.
I want to hear it before I die.
Sing till the moon comes out of the sky!
“No, no!” the nightingale sings;
“Once is enough for all best things!

I shall trill many a lovely strain;
But I never shall sing that song again!”
Make for me, sky, that tender hue
You made last night ere the sun dropped through!—
Colour melted in burning air,
Flowing we know not whence nor where.
Before I die I want to see—
Make that colour again for me!
“No, no! I paint all day
Rose and amethyst, gold and grey,
Purple precipice, silver rain;
But I never shall paint that hue again.”
Breathe to me, friend, that deep lovetone

You breathed last night when we were alone;
It told a life which I never guessed,
It covered sorrow with floods of rest.
Before I die, I want to know
Whether you always love me so.
“No, no! The moment came
Once, but never again the same:
Once, deep Love finds utterance clear;
Often silent, 't is always here.

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Menella Bute Smedley