I LOVED you in Babylon.
Sweet Heart! you were a dancer then
And I watched where your little feet
Just stirred the dust within the market-place.
You passed me slow and down the sunlit street,
I saw the longing in the eyes of men
Who caught the smile which glorified your face.
A moment—little heart!—and you were gone;
But where you passed—you knew it not—
I marked and kissed the spot.
I loved you in royal Rome.
Sweet Heart! you were a vestal there
And I came to offer my gift.
A poor slave with a pigeon dearly bought.
Its feathers purer than snow's whitest drift.
With fevered soul I made my silent prayer
Though I could never touch the bliss I sought.
While holy Vesta's temple was your home.
A feather fell—how should you see?—
Till death it stayed with me.
I love you in London town.
Sweet Heart! you are a princess now
And the blue blood runs in your veins;
While I, alas! am but of common birth
Whom war is splashing with its crimson stains.
A soldier who has taken Honour's vow
To share the grandest task on God's wide earth.
One night you wore red roses in your gown.
A petal dropped—you never guessed—
I hid it in my breast.
So shall I still love on.
Sweet Heart! your soul was close to me
When the world's first dreams were made.
We two were whispering love at God's own side
Or ever sunlight on the mountains played.
And through a wilderness of worlds I see
A time when reunited we shall glide
Unto the Soul of souls, the Perfect One.
Pass, life or lives! you'll understand
When Love gives me your hand.
Galloway Kyle, ed. More Songs By the Fighting Men: Soldier Poets: Second Series. London: Erskine McDonald, Ltd, 1917.