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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Sunset Fantasie

By George Arnold (1834–1865)

[From Poems Grave and Gay. 1866.—Edited by William Winter.]

WHEN the sun sets over the bay,

And sweeping shadows solemnly lie

On its mottled surface of azure and gray,

And the night-winds sigh,—

Come, O Léonore, brown-eyed one,

To the cloudy realms of the setting sun!

Where crimson crag, and silvery steep,

And amaranth rift, and purple deep,

Look dimly soft, as the sunset pales,

Like the shadowy cities of ancient tales.

As Egypt’s queen went floating along

To her lover, when all the orient air

Was laden with echoes of dreamy song,

And the plash of oars, and perfumes rare,

So will we float

In a golden boat,

On velvet cushions soft and wide;

I and my love, the onyx-eyed,

Will watch the twilight radiance fail,—

Cheek by cheek and side by side,—

And our mingled breath, O Léonore,

Shall fan the silken sail,

To the shining line of that faëry strand

Where sky is water and cloud is land,—

The wonderful sunset shore!

On those dim headlands, here and there,

The lofty glacier-peaks between,

Through the purple haze of the twilight air,

The tremulous glow of a star is seen.

There let us dwell, O Léonore,

Free from the griefs that haunt us here,

Knowing nor frown, nor sigh, nor tear:

There let us bide forevermore,

Happy for aye in the sunset sphere!

In the mountainous cloudland, far away,

Behold, a glittering chasm gleams!

O, let us cross the heaving bay,

To that land of love and dreams!

There would I lie, in a misty bower,

Tasting the nectar of thy lip,

Sweet as the honeyed dews that drip

From the budding lotos-flower!

Dip the oar and spread the sail

For shining peak and shadowy vale!

Fill, O sail, and plash, O oar,

For the wonderful sunset shore!