by James Russell Lowell
As the leaf upon the tree,
Fluttering, gleaming constantly,
Such a lightsome thing was she,
My gay and gentle Isabel!
Her heart was fed with love-springs sweet,
And in her face you’d see it beat
To hear the sound of welcome feet —
And were not mine so, Isabel?
She knew it not, but she was fair,
And like a moonbeam was her hair,
That falls where flowing ripples are
In summer evenings, Isabel!
Her heart and tongue were scarce apart,
Unwittingly her lips would part,
And love came gushing from her heart,
The woman’s heart of Isabel.
So pure her flesh-garb, and like dew,
That in her features glimmered through
Each working of her spirit true,
In wondrous beauty, Isabel!
A sunbeam struggling through thick leaves,
A reaper’s song mid yellow sheaves,
Less gladsome were; — my spirit grieves
To think of thee, mild Isabel!
I know not when I loved thee first;
Not loving, I had been accurst,
Yet, having loved, my heart will burst,
Longing for thee, dear Isabel!
With silent tears my cheeks are wet,
I would be calm, I would forget,
But thy blue eyes gaze on me yet,
When stars have risen, Isabel.
The winds mourn for thee, Isabel,
The flowers expect thee in the dell,
Thy gentle spirit loved them well;
And I for thy sake, Isabel!
The sunsets seem less lovely now
Than when, leaf checkered, on thy brow
They fell as lovingly as thou
Lingered’st till moon-rise, Isabel!
At dead of night I seem to see
Thy fair, pale features constantly
Upturned in silent prayer for me,
O’er moveless clasped hands, Isabel!
I call thee, thou dost not reply;
The stars gleam coldly on thine eye,
As like a dream thou flittest by,
And leav’st me weeping, Isabel!