They drift down the hall together;
   He smiles in her lifted eyes.
Like waves of that mighty river,
   The strains of the "Danube" rise.
They float on its rhythmic measure,
   Like leaves on a summer-stream;
And here, in this scene of pleasure,
   I bury my sweet, dead dream.

Through the cloud of her dusky tresses,
   Like a star, shines out her face;
And the form his strong arm presses
   Is sylph-like in its grace.
As a leaf on the bounding river
   Is lost in the seething sea,
I know that forever and ever
  My dream is lost to me.

And still the viols are playing
   That grand old wordless rhyme;
And still those two are swaying
   In perfect tune and time.
If the great bassoons that mutter,
   If the clarinets that blow,
Were given a voice to utter
   The secret things they know,

Would the lists of the slain who slumber
   On the Danube's battle-plains
The unknown hosts outnumber
   Who die, 'neath the "Danube's" strains?
Those fall where cannons rattle,
   'Mid the rain of shot and shell;
But these, in a fiercer battle,
   Find death in the music's swell.

With the river's roar of passion
   Is blended the dying groan;
But here, in the halls of fashion,
   Hearts break, and make no moan.
And the music, swelling and sweeping,
   Like the river, knows it all;
But none are counting or keeping
   The lists of those who fall.

Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler
Chicago : Belford, Clarke & Co, 1883.

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