SO it is eighteen years,
                      Helena, since we met!
                    A season so endears,
                      Nor you nor I forget
                    The fresh young faces that once clove
                    In that most fiery dawn of love.

                    We wandered to and fro,
                      Who knew not how to woo,
                    Those eighteen years ago,
                      Sweetheart, when I and you
                    Exchanged high vows in heaven's sight
                    That scarce survived a summer's night.

                    What scourge smote from the stars?
                      What madness from the moon?
                    That night we broke the bars
                      Was quintessential June,
                    When you and I beneath the trees
                    Bartered our bold virginities.

                    Eighteen --- years, months, or hours?
                      Time is a tyrant's toy!
                    Eternal are the flowers!
                      We are but girl and boy
                    Yet --- since love leapt as swift to-night
                    As it had never left the light!  {201}

                    For fiercer from the South
                      Still flames your cruel hair,
                    And Trojan Helen's mouth
                      Still not so ripe and rare
                    As Helena's --- nor love nor youth
                    So leaps with lust or thrills with truth.

                    Helena, still we hold
                      Flesh firmer, still we mix
                    Black hair with hair as gold.
                      Life has but served to fix
                    Our hearts; love lingers on the tongue,
                    And who loves once is always young.

                    The stars are still the same;
                      The changeful moon endures;
                    Come without fear or shame,
                      And draw my mouth to yours!
                    Youth fails, however flesh be fain;
                    Manhood and womanhood attain.

                    Life is a string of pearls,
                      And you the first I strung.
                    You left --- first flower of girls! ---
                      Life lyric on my tongue,
                    An indefatigable dance,
                    An inexhaustible romance!

                    Blush of love's dawn, bright bud
                      That bloomed for my delight,
                    First blossom of my blood,
                       Burn in that blood to-night!  {202}
                    Helena, Helena, fiercely fresh,
                    Your flesh flies fervent to my flesh.

                    What sage can dare impugn
                      Man's immortality?
                    Our godhead swims, immune
                      From death and destiny.
                    Ignored the bubble in the flow
                    Of love eighteen short years ago!

                    Time --- I embrace all time
                      As my arm rings your waist.
                    Space --- you surpass, sublime,
                      As, taking me, we taste
                    Omnipotence, sense slaying sense,
                    Soul slaying soul, omniscience. {203}