At dusk, like flowers that shun the day,
Shy thoughts from dim recesses break,
And plead for words I dare not say
For your sweet sake.
My early love! my first, my last!
Mistakes have been that both must rue,
But all the passion of the past
Survives for you.
The tender message Hope might send,
Sinks fainting at the lips of speech;
For, are you lover — are you friend,
That I would reach?
How much to-night I’d give to win
A banished peace — an old repose!
But here I sit, and sigh, and sin
When no one knows.
The stern, the steadfast reticence
Which made the dearest phrases halt,
And checked a first and finest sense,
Was not my fault.
I held my words because there grew
About my life persistent pride;
And you were loved, who never knew
What love could hide.
This purpose filled my soul like flame
To win you wealth, and take the place
Where care is not, or any shame
To vex your face.
I said “till then my heart must keep
Its secrets safe and unconfest;”
And days and nights unknown to sleep
The vow attest.
Yet, O my Sweet, it seems so long
Since you were near, and fates retard
The sequel of a struggle strong,
And Life is hard!
Too hard when one is left alone
To wrestle Passion, never free
To turn and say to you, “My own,
Come home to me.”
Henry Kendall, Leaves from Australian Forests, Melbourne: George Robertson, 1869, pages 145-147