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Robert Louis Stevenson

(1850-1894 / Edinburgh / Scotland)

Air Of Diabelli's


CALL it to mind, O my love.
Dear were your eyes as the day,
Bright as the day and the sky;
Like the stream of gold and the sky above,
Dear were your eyes in the grey.
We have lived, my love, O, we have lived, my love!
Now along the silent river, azure
Through the sky's inverted image,
Softly swam the boat that bore our love,
Swiftly ran the shallow of our love
Through the heaven's inverted image,
In the reedy mazes round the river.
See along the silent river,

See of old the lover's shallop steer.
Berried brake and reedy island,
Heaven below and only heaven above.
Through the sky's inverted image
Swiftly swam the boat that bore our love.
Berried brake and reedy island,
Mirrored flower and shallop gliding by.
All the earth and all the sky were ours,
Silent sat the wafted lovers,
Bound with grain and watched by all the sky,
Hand to hand and eye to . . . eye.

Days of April, airs of Eden,
Call to mind how bright the vanished angel hours,
Golden hours of evening,
When our boat drew homeward filled with flowers.
O darling, call them to mind; love the past, my love.
Days of April, airs of Eden.
How the glory died through golden hours,
And the shining moon arising;
How the boat drew homeward filled with flowers.
Age and winter close us slowly in.

Level river, cloudless heaven,
Islanded reed mazes, silver weirs;
How the silent boat with silver
Threads the inverted forest as she goes,
Broke the trembling green of mirrored trees.
O, remember, and remember
How the berries hung in garlands.

Still in the river see the shallop floats.
Hark! Chimes the falling oar.
Still in the mind
Hark to the song of the past!
Dream, and they pass in their dreams.

Those that loved of yore, O those that loved of yore!
Hark through the stillness, O darling, hark!
Through it all the ear of the mind

Knows the boat of love. Hark!
Chimes the falling oar.

O half in vain they grew old.

Now the halcyon days are over,
Age and winter close us slowly round,
And these sounds at fall of even
Dim the sight and muffle all the sound.
And at the married fireside, sleep of soul and sleep of fancy,
Joan and Darby.
Silence of the world without a sound;
And beside the winter faggot

Joan and Darby sit and dose and dream and wake -
Dream they hear the flowing, singing river,
See the berries in the island brake;
Dream they hear the weir,
See the gliding shallop mar the stream.
Hark! in your dreams do you hear?

Snow has filled the drifted forest;
Ice has bound the . . . stream.
Frost has bound our flowing river;
Snow has whitened all our island brake.

Berried brake and reedy island,
Heaven below and only heaven above azure
Through the sky's inverted image
Safely swam the boat that bore our love.
Dear were your eyes as the day,
Bright ran the stream, bright hung the sky above.
Days of April, airs of Eden.
How the glory died through golden hours,
And the shining moon arising,
How the boat drew homeward filled with flowers.
Bright were your eyes in the night:
We have lived, my love;
O, we have loved, my love.
Now the . . . days are over,
Age and winter close us slowly round.

Vainly time departs, and vainly
Age and winter come and close us round.

Hark the river's long continuous sound.

Hear the river ripples in the reeds.

Lo, in dreams they see their shallop
Run the lilies down and drown the weeds
Mid the sound of crackling faggots.
So in dreams the new created
Happy past returns, to-day recedes,
And they hear once more,

From the old years,
Yesterday returns, to-day recedes,
And they hear with aged hearing warbles

Love's own river ripple in the weeds.
And again the lover's shallop;
Lo, the shallop sheds the streaming weeds;
And afar in foreign countries
In the ears of aged lovers.

And again in winter evens
Starred with lilies . . . with stirring weeds.
In these ears of aged lovers
Love's own river ripples in the reeds.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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