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William Ernest Henley (Уильям Эрнст Хенли)


Ballade of the Toyokuni Colour-Print


       To W. A.

Was I a Samurai renowned,
Two-sworded, fierce, immense of bow?
A histrion angular and profound?
A priest? a porter?—Child, although
I have forgotten clean, I know
That in the shade of Fujisan,
What time the cherry-orchards blow,
I loved you once in old Japan.

As here you loiter, flowing-gowned
And hugely sashed, with pins a-row
Your quaint head as with flamelets crowned,
Demure, inviting—even so,
When merry maids in Miyako
To feel the sweet o’ the year began,
And green gardens to overflow,
I loved you once in old Japan.

Clear shine the hills; the rice-fields round
Two cranes are circling; sleepy and slow,
A blue canal the lake’s blue bound
Breaks at the bamboo bridge; and lo!
Touched with the sundown’s spirit and glow,
I see you turn, with flirted fan,
Against the plum-tree’s bloomy snow . . .
I loved you once in old Japan!

           Envoy

Dear, ’twas a dozen lives ago;
But that I was a lucky man
The Toyokuni here will show:
I loved you—once—in old Japan.



William Ernest Henley's other poems:
  1. Rhymes and Rhythms. 10. Midsummer Midnight Skies
  2. Rhymes and Rhythms. 21. When the Wind Storms by with a Shout, and the Stern Sea-Caves
  3. Echoes. 32. O, Falmouth Is a Fine Town
  4. Echoes. 21. We Flash across the Level
  5. London Voluntaries. 4. Largo e Mesto


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