Ophelia

Ophelia

I.

Where the
stars sleep in the calm black stream,

Like some great lily, pale Ophelia floats,

Slowly floats, wound in her veils like a dream.

— Half heard in the woods, halloos from distant throats.

A thousand years has sad Ophelia gone Glimmering on the water, a phantom
fair;

A thousand years her soft distracted song Has waked the answering evening
air.

The wind kisses her breasts and shakes

Her long veils lying softly on the stream;

The shivering willows weep upon her cheeks;

Across her dreaming brows the rushes lean.

The wrinkled water lilies round her sigh;

And once she wakes a nest of sleeping things

And hears the tiny sound of frightened wings;

Mysterious music falls from the starry sky.

II.

Oh pale Ophelia,
a beautiful as snow!

Yes, die, child, die, and drift away to sea!

For from the peaks of Norway cold winds blow

And whisper low of bitter liberty;

For a breath that moved your long heavy hair

Brought strange sounds to your wandering thoughts;

Your heart heard Nature singing everywhere,

In the sighs of the trees and the whispering of night.

For the voice of the seas, endless and immense,

Breaks your young breast, too human and too sweet;

For on an April morning a pale young prince,

Poor lunatic, sat wordless at your feet!

Sky! Love! Liberty! What dream, poor young Thing!

you sank before him, snow before fire,

Your own great vision strangling your tongue,

Infinity flaring in your blue eye!

III.

And the Poet
says that by starlight you came

To pick the flowers you loved so much,

at night, And he saw, wound in her veils like a dream,

Like some great lily, pale Ophelia float.