James Lionel Michael poems

James Lionel Michael(October 1824 - 26 April 1868 / London, England)
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The Eye of the Beholder

- by James Lionel Michael 16

IF, as they tell in stories old,
The waters of Pactolus roll'd
Over a sand of shifting gold;

If ever there were fairies, such
As those that charm the child so much,
With jewels growing 'neath their touch;

If, in the wine-cup's sweet deceit,
There lies a secret pleasant cheat,
That turns to beauty all we meet;

The stream, the fairy, and the wine,
In the first love of youth combine
To make its object seem divine.

No golden sand of fabl'd river,
No jewel glittering for ever,
No wine-born vision's melting quiver,

In vivid glory can compare
With that which we ourselves prepare
To throw round that we fancy fair.

Never such beauty glittered yet,
In golden beams of suns that set
On cupola and minaret.

Never such beauty met men's eyes
In silver light of moons that rise
O'er lonely lakes 'neath tropic skies.

The world holds nothing of such worth,
There 's nothing half so fair on earth,
As that to which the heart gives birth:

External beauties pall and fade;
But that which my own soul hath made,
To my conception, knows no shade.

To every ark there comes a dove,
To every heart from heaven above
Is sent a beauty born of love.

The moonlit lake, the waving trees,
It is the eye which looks on these
That makes the loveliness it sees.

Out of myself the beauty grows,
Out of myself the beauty flows
That decks the petals of the rose.

So, when at Ada's feet I lay,
And saw her glorious as the day,
'Twas my own heart that lent the ray.

`Through Pleasant Paths'

- by James Lionel Michael 14

Through pleasant paths, through dainty ways,
Love leads my feet;
Where beauty shines with living rays,
Soft, gentle, sweet;
The placid heart at random strays,
And sings, and smiles, and laughs and plays,
And gathers from the summer days
Their light and heat,
That in its chambers burn and blaze
And beam and beat.

I throw myself among the ferns
Under the shade,
And watch the summer sun that burns
On dell and glade;
To thee, my dear, my fancy turns,
In thee its Paradise discerns,
For thee it sighs, for thee it yearns,
My chosen maid;
And that still depth of passion learns
Which cannot fade.

The wind that whispers in the night,
Subtle and free,
The gorgeous noonday's blinding light,
On hill and tree,
All lovely things that meet my sight,
All shifting lovelinesses bright,
Speak to my heart with calm delight,
Seeming to be
Cloth'd with enchantment, robed in white,
To sing of thee.

The ways of life are hard and cold
To one alone;
Bitter the strife for place and gold --
We weep and groan:
But when love warms the heart grows bold;
And when our arms the prize enfold,
Dearest! the heart can hardly hold
The bliss unknown,
Unspoken, never to be told --
My own, my own!

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