Thro' the gateways of Eden, Eve all mournful
Look'd, gold gateways of Eden, sharply closing
On our mother, who laving with wet sorrow
Her soul's bitterness, loth to leave her bower,
Whose cool leaflets and tendrils barr'd the sunbeams,
Saw her home of the future, in the distance,
Bare, wild, cheerless, beset with leafless branches,
Thorns, sharp thistles and horrid growths unsightly,
No buds broke to the hills where Heaven slumber'd,
For the flowerless plain was parch'd and barren;
So she pray'd to the bright, the guarding Angel:
"O wing'd spirit! as good as thou art lovely,
Grant me time yet to linger 'mid my flowers,
Time to gather the seed-cells of my blossoms;
Ere we bear to the wilds our weight of weeping."
Then fair Eve to her garden sped, half-cheerful;
In her hasting her lithe limbs shook a snowfall
Of white rose-leaves. The small gales caught her tresses;
The clear stream, at her fair flesh, rippled wonder;
Pards, large-eyed, as she pass'd by look'd allegiance;
Love-torn creepers caress'd her with their tendrils;
The green sward, at her tread, with daisies silver'd;
Pale proud lilies low-bow'd their heads--she passing--
For the souls of the flowers felt her presence,
As the earth the sweet whisper of the spring-time.
Love-lured airs with low music palpitated,
While white seraphs, above her, sang their greetings:
"Thy seed shall in the ages crush the serpent."
Sang they Hope, and fair Faith, and Love triumphant.
Once more rapture, ambrosial, delightful,
Fill'd her heart, as the sunbeam fills the crocus;
Wan-eyed Sorrow in sleep her pinions folded--
Wee bright cherubs, on rosy winglets, help'd her,
Brought her fruit of the bough, and seed of blossom;
Wealth of sun-woven fabrics--many-tinted
Cups of Paradise, full to brim with summer.
But a cry, as a pain, arose in Eden--
A sharp cry from the lips of Eve, embower'd
'Mid her roses, she, plucking milky blossoms,
Felt thorns twain, on a sudden, smite her finger;
Sharp thorns, sharper than spears, the first in Eden;
For the roses were thornless, smooth as willow,
Ere her sinfulness. Blood-drops stain'd the petals,
Erst as white as the hellebore in winter;
And she, musing, beheld a wondrous marvel--
Where the beads of her blood the leaves ensanguin'd,
Lo! red roses were born, as joys in sorrow,
A rose, red as the nut-tree bloom in spring-days.
'Neath the eaves of her argent lids, night-fringèd,
Twin tears wander'd adown her cheeks like lost stars,
Spheres of light, to the golden-hearted roses
Where they rested; and blossoms, erewhile scentless,
Gave an odour to sweeten all the ages.
In green shadowy ways, half glad, half mournful,
Mov'd fair Eve; and her consort watch'd her coming,
As peaks, swathed in the night-clouds, watch for morning.
Light she stept, with her flower-load uplifted,
Full ripe pendulous clusters bearing seed-pods,
Through the arches and aisles of leafy Eden.
Cheer'd she him, her belov'd, with smiles of sunlight,
He, our Father, was dark at heart and downcast;
But the glow of her presence flush'd his pulses,
And he fed on her face as one a-hunger'd.
Swung her burthen of scents upon his shoulder,
And, with arm on her white waist, pass'd the portals,
To the wilderness pass'd they, while behind them
Rang the dissonant clang of gates sharp closing.
Wander'd they in the wilds and desert places,
Till they reach'd, through a break among the mountains,
Way-worn, weary, a valley speck'd with verdure.
With swift silver the streamlets slash'd the hillsides
Worn with storms, and at last, in one stream gather'd,
Flow'd out, under the sun, to seek Euphrates.
There the exiles, heart-lighten'd, found a refuge,
Where, by labour of hands, uprose a garden,
Whose leaves sang in the wind of bygone pleasures.
There Eve sow'd in the earth the seeds of Eden,
And soon flowers, as flames of fire, brake upward,
Bright buds, splendid as those in Angels' garlands,
Guests in Paradise ere the curse resounded.
Through the mists of the years, each bloom she gathered,
Each seed's mystery, comes with tear-wet petals,
With the breath of the morn of earth, to woo us--
Comes, all stainless, to tell of days once sinless,
To point us where the star-buds bloom immortal.
Thanks, fair Mother of ours! amid the shadows
That gloom us, and the tears that spring from sorrow,
Comes the thought, to our worn hearts bringing sweetness,
Buds from Paradise still adorn our pathways,
The pure blossoms of Eden cluster round us.