John Howard Payne

Here you will find the Long Poem Thorgerda of poet John Howard Payne


LO, what a golden day it is! 
 The glad sun rives the sapphire deeps 
Down to the dim pearl-floor?d abyss 
 Where, cold in death, my lover sleeps; 
Crowns with soft fire his sea-drench?d hair, 
 Kisses with gold his lips death-pale, 
Lets down from heaven a golden stair, 
 Whose steps methinks his soul doth scale. 
This is my treasure. White and sweet, 
 He lies beneath my ardent eyne, 
With heart that nevermore shall beat, 
 Nor lips press softly against mine. 
How like a dream it seems to me, 
 The time when hand in hand we went 
By hill and valley, I and he, 
 Lost in a trance of ravishment! 
I and my lover here that lies 
 And sleeps the everlasting sleep, 
We walk?d whilere in Paradise; 
 (Can it be true?) Our souls drank deep 
Together of Love?s wonder-wine: 
 We saw the golden days go by, 
Unheeding, for we were divine; 
 Love had advanced us to the sky. 
And of that time no traces bin,
 Save the still shape that once did hold 
My lover?s soul, that shone therein, 
 As wine laughs in a vase of gold. 
Cold, cold he lies, and answers not 
 Unto my speech; his mouth is cold 
Whose kiss to mine was sweet and hot 
 As sunshine to a marigold. 
And yet his pallid lips I press; 
 I fold his neck in my embrace; 
I rain down kisses none the less
 Upon his unresponsive face: 
I call on him with all the fair 
 Flower-names that blossom out of love; 
I knit sea-jewels in his hair; 
 I weave fair coronals above 
The cold, sweet silver of his brow: 
 For this is all of him I have; 
Nor any Future more than now 
 Shall give me back what Love once gave. 
For from Death?s gate our lives divide; 
 His was the Galilean?s faith: 
With those that serve the Crucified, 
 He shar?d the chance of Life and Death. 
And so my eyes shall never light 
 Upon his star-soft eyes again; 
Nor ever in the day or night, 
 By hill or valley, wood or plain, 
Our hands shall meet afresh. His voice 
 Shall never with its silver tone 
The sadness of my soul rejoice,
 Nor his breast throb against my own. 
His sight shall never unto me 
 Return whilst heaven and earth remain: 
Though Time blend with Eternity, 
 Our lives shall never meet again,? 
Never by gray or purple sea, 
 Never again in heavens of blue, 
Never in this old earth?ah me! 
 Never, ah never! in the new. 
For me, he treads the windless ways 
 Among the thick star-diamonds, 
Where in the middle æther blaze 
 The Golden City?s pearl gate-fronds; 
Sitteth, palm-crown?d and silver-shod, 
 Where in strange dwellings of the skies 
The Christians to their Woman-God 
 Cease nevermore from psalmodies. 
And I, I wait, with haggard eyes 
 And face grown awful for desire, 
The coming of that fierce day?s rise 
 When from the cities of the fire 
The Wolf shall come with blazing crest, 
 And many a giant arm?d for war; 
When from the sanguine-streaming West, 
 Hell-flaming, speedeth Naglfar.