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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