To Pippa

 

(From the French of Alfred de Musset)

PIPPA, when the shadows come
And your mother says goodnight;
When you kneel and pray to God,
Half-clad, in the candlelight;

At that hour your active mind
Showers thoughts into your head,
When you free your pretty hair
And lay yourself upon the bed.

When the house is wrapped in sleep
And there’s slumber all around you;
Oh, my Pippa, darling one,
What the thoughts that then surround you?

Who can say? The heroine sweet
Of some unfortunate romance
Makes appeal to dying hope,
Meets reality’s dark glance.

Dreams she of the mountains tall,
Never sleeping in their state?
Or of the dark-eyed youths of Spain,
And choosing one to be her mate?

In thy pure and virgin heart
Thoughts are lying secretly;
They may be of thy dress; the dance;
Nothing at all, perhaps – of me?

3. 2. 1928