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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

Summer Love

By William Henry Venable (1836–1920)

[From Melodies of the Heart. 1885.]

I KNOW ’tis late, but let me stay,

For night is tenderer than day;

Sweet love, dear love, I cannot go;

Dear love, sweet love, I love thee so.

The birds are in the grove asleep,

The katydids shrill concert keep,

The woodbine breathes a fragrance rare,

To please the dewy, languid air,

The fire-flies twinkle in the vale,

The river shines in moonlight pale:

See yon bright star! choose it for thine,

And call its near companion mine;

Yon air-spun lace above the moon,—

’Twill veil her radiant beauty soon;

And look! a meteor’s dreamy light

Streams mystic through the solemn night.

Ah, life glides swift, like that still fire

How soon our gleams of joy expire.

Who can be sure the present kiss

Is not his last? Make all of this.

I know ’tis late,—dear love, I know;

Dear love, sweet love, I love thee so.

It cannot be the stealthy day

That turns the orient darkness gray;

Heardst thou? I thought or feared I heard

Vague twitters of some wakeful bird.

Nay, ’twas but summer in her sleep

Low murmuring from the leafy deep.

Fantastic mist obscurely fills

The hollows of Kentucky hills.

The wings of night are swift indeed!

Why makes the jealous morn such speed?

This rose thou wear’st may I not take

For passionate remembrance’ sake?

Press with thy lips its crimson heart.

Yes, blushing rose, we must depart.

A rose cannot return a kiss—

I pay its due with this, and this.

The stars grow faint, they soon will die,

But love fades not nor fails. Good-bye!

Unhappy joy—delicious pain—

We part in love, we meet again.

Good-bye!—the morning dawns—I go;

Dear love, sweet love, I love thee so.