In the Palais Royal Garden.

From: The Bird and the Bell with Other Poems (1875)
Author: Christopher Pearse Cranch
Published: Osgood and Company 1875 Boston


IN the Palais Royal Garden I stood listening to-day,
Just at sunset, in the crowd that flaunted up and down so gay
As the strains of “Casta Diva” rose and fell and died away.

Lonely in the crowd of French I stood and listened to the strain,
And the breath of happier hours came blowing from the past again;
But the music brought a pleasure that was near akin to pain.

Italy, dear Italy, came back, with all her orange flowers,
With her sapphire skies and ocean, with her shrines and crumbling towers,
And her dark-eyed women sitting under their vine-shaded bowers.

And the rich and brilliant concerts in my own far distant land,
Where the world-renowned singers, circled by the orchestral band
Poured their music on the crowds like costly wine upon the sand.

All the aroma of the best and brightest hours of love and song
Mingled with the yearning music, floated to me o’er the throng.
But it died as died the sunset. Ah, it could not linger long!

Through the streets the carriages are rolling with a heavy jar,
Feebly o’er the staring gas-lamps glimmers here and there a star.
Night looks down through narrow spaces; men are near, the skies are far.

Far too are my friends, the cherished,—north and south and o’er the sea.
And to-night I pant for music and for life that cannot be,
For the foreign city’s crowd is naught but solitude to me.

PARIS, August, 1854.

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