Victor James Daley

The Nightingale

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WHEN the moon a golden-pale
Lustre on my casement flings,
An enchanted nightingale
In the haunted silence sings.

Strange the song—its wondrous words
Taken from the primal tongue,
Known to men, and beasts, and birds,
When the care-worn world was young

Listening low, I hear the stars
Through her strains move solemnly,
And on lonesome banks and bars
Hear the sobbing of the sea.

And my memory dimly gropes
Hints to gather from her song
Of forgotten fears and hopes,
Joys and griefs forgotten long.

And I feel once more the strife
Of a passion, fierce and grand,
That, in some long-vanished life,
Held my soul at its command.

Ah, my Love, in robes of white
Standing by a moonlit sea,
Like a lily of the night,
Hast thou quite forgotten me?

Dost thou never dream at whiles
Of that silent, templed vale,
And the dim wood in whose aisles
Sang a secret nightingale?

Whither hast thou gone? What star
Holds thy spirit pure and fine?
In this world below there are
None like thee: and thou wert mine!

For a season all things last,
Love and Joy, and Life and Death;
Thou art portion of my past,
I of thine, whilst Time draws breath.

Fades the moonlight golden-pale,
And the bird has ceased to sing—
Ah, it was no nightingale,
But my heart—remembering.

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Victor James Daley