By the Arno


   The oleander on the wall 
    Grows crimson in the dawning light, 
    Though the grey shadows of the night 
Lie yet on Florence like a pall. 

    The dew is bright upon the hill, 
    And bright the blossoms overhead, 
    But ah! the grasshoppers have fled, 
The little Attic song is still. 

    Only the leaves are gently stirred 
    By the soft breathing of the gale, 
    And in the almond-scented vale 
The lonely nightingale is heard. 

    The day will make thee silent soon, 
    O nightingale sing on for love! 
    While yet upon the shadowy grove 
Splinter the arrows of the moon. 

    Before across the silent lawn 
    In sea-green mist the morning steals, 
    And to love’s frightened eyes reveals 
The long white fingers of the dawn 

    Fast climbing up the eastern sky 
    To grasp and slay the shuddering night, 
    All careless of my heart’s delight, 
Or if the nightingale should die. 


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