Alice Cary

April 26, 1820 - 1871


Of One Asleep

by Alice Cary

Once when we lingered, sorrow-proof,
My gentle love and me,
Beneath a green and pleasant roof
Of oak leaves by the sea,
Like yellow violets, springing bright
From furrows newly turned,
Among the nut-brown clouds the light
Of sunset softly burned.
Then, veiling close her pensive face
In clouds of transient flame,
The silent child of the embrace
Of light and darkness came:
We saw her closing now the flower
And warning home the bee,
Now painting with a godlike power
The arteries of the sea;
And heard the wind beneath nights frown
Displacing quick her smile,
Laughingly running up and down
The green hills all the while;
Love to our hearts had newly brought
Sweeter than Eden gleams,
And no dark underswell of thought
Troubled the sea of dreams.

Low down beneath an oaken roof
Of dim leaves by the sea --
Where then we lingered, sorrow-proof,
My gentle love and me --
While sunset softly lights the bower,
And wave embraces wave,
The shadow of the passion flower
Lies darkly on his grave.
And musing of his pillow low,
His slumber deep and long,
My heart keeps heaving to and fro
Upon the waves of song.
No more through sunset's sinking fire
Are Eden-gleams descried,
The sweetest chord of all life's lyre
Was shattered when he died.
Yet not one memory would I sell,
However woeful proved,
For all the brightest joys that dwell
In souls that never loved.


Copyright 1855
Boston: Ticknor And Fields