The Wood-Nymph, by Arthur Symons

The Wood-Nymph

After a picture by Burne Jones The green leaves, ah, the green leaves cover me:
Would I might lose this unloved human life
And share the happy being of the leaves!
For lo, they live and grow and drink the sun
And sip the nectar of the heavenly showers
And have no sorrow with it; but they grow
Happily, and Pan at even blesses them.
While I, alas me hapless, I am joined
Part to their life, and all in longing to them;
Part to the gods, the bright gods whom I see
Flash through the woods at even or morn, and make
The beautiful familiar trees seem strange;
And part to mortals and their little life.
Green leaves that cover me, to you I mourn,
My sisters, my more happy sisters, ye
Rustle, rustle in the summer air,
With happy cries of birds among your boughs:
Be happy, though I am not happy. Nay,
I am not all unhappy, evermore.
One while a bird sings on the topmost bough
And my heart sings, forgetting life and death
And sorrow: so forgetting I were blest,
And bliss the gods deny me. When they walk
The forest before sundawn--Artemis,
Girt for the chase and followed by her hounds,
Queen Herê or another, ere the dawn,
Or Aphrodite with the rosy dawn--
I may not speak my longings, but they pass,
Pass unregardful to their happy heaven.
They see me not--not me, akin to Gods!
These tears are vain.--When mortals pass at eve,
Treading a delicate path between the trees,
Pale mortal men and women, with their loves--
It pains me that I see them, for I know
I am not as they are, and cannot share
The little love that fills their little life--
Vain, vain; and they too pass and see me not.
Ah me, dear leaves, forsaken of gods and men,
And sad because I cannot live their life,
Will you not love me whom none others love?
Will you not teach me how to live your life,
My sisters, my more happy sisters?--live
In peace and quietness and still content,
And freshen and fade and freshen and have no care
And have no longing, full of peace to live,
Forgetting thus for ever life and death
And Gods and men and sorrow and delight. - Arthur Symons