If Laura — lady of the flower-soft face —
Should light upon these verses, she may take
The tenderest line, and through its pulses trace
What man can suffer for a woman’s sake.
For in the nights that burn, the days that break,
A thin pale Figure stands in Passion’s place;
And Peace comes not, nor yet the perished grace
Of Youth to keep old faiths and fires awake.
Ah, marvellous maid! Life sobs, and sighing saith,
“She left me, fleeting like a fluttered dove;
But I would have a moment of her breath,
So I might taste the sweetest sense thereof,
And catch from blossoming, honeyed lips of love
Some faint, some fair, some dim, delicious death.”
Henry Kendall, Leaves from Australian Forests, Melbourne: George Robertson, 1869, page 104