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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. 12. Some Starlit Garden Grey with Dew
  2. Echoes. 17. The Sands Are Alive with Sunshine
  3. Rhymes and Rhythms. 10. Midsummer Midnight Skies
  4. Rhymes and Rhythms. 20. The Shadow of Dawn
  5. Rhymes and Rhythms. 21. When the Wind Storms by with a Shout, and the Stern Sea-Caves


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