Fitz-Greene Halleck - Love

……….. The imperial votress passed on In maiden meditation , fancy free. Midsummer Night's Dream , Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again? BENEDICT , in Much Ado about Nothing. I WHEN the tree of Love is budding first , Ere yet its leaves are green , Ere yet , by shower and sunbeam nurst Its infant life has been; The wild bee's slightest touch might wring The buds from off the tree , As the gentle dip of the swallow's wing Breaks the bubbles on the sea. II But when its open leaves have found A home in the free air , Pluck them , and there remains a wound That ever rankles there. The blight of hope and happiness Is felt when fond ones part , And the bitter tear that follows is The life-blood of the heart. III. When the flame of love is kindled first , 'Tis the fire-fly's light at even , 'Tis dim as the wandering stars that burst In the blue of the summer heaven. A breath can bid it burn no more , Or if , at times , its beams Come on the memory , they pass o'er Like shadows in our dreams. IV But when that flame has blazed into A being and a power , And smiled in scorn upon the dew That fell in its first warm hour , 'Tis the flame that curls round the martyr's head , Whose task is to destroy; 'Tis the lamp on the altars of the dead , Whose light but darkens joy ! V Then crush , even in their hour of birth , The infant buds of Love , And tread his glowing fire to earth , Ere 'tis dark in clouds above; Cherish no more a cypress tree To shade thy future years , Nor nurse a heart-flame that may be Quenched only with thy tears.Fitz-Greene Halleck