THE Prince has come! shy princess, Oh, be wise,
Kiss his sweet mouth, look deep into his eyes,
And let your songs, like lutes tired hands left dumb,
Learn all Love’s language now the Prince has come.
The Prince is fair, proud princess, hold him fast
With slim white hands, each kiss may be the last.
Joy is a ﬂower whose petals fall apart,
And fade too soon. Ah, hold him to your heart.
And this sweet Prince, who never will grow old,
This boy with great blue eyes and hair like gold,
Will lead you, little princess, by the hand
Through all the gardens of his fairy land.
What though a sleepless dragon day and night
The great world watches, jealous of delight,
Strong Love shall stand with shining wings unfurled
Between you and the hatred of the world.
It has been suggested that Olive Custance was a bad mother. Natalie Barney could only think of what the pregnancy had done to her figure; and yet there is nothing explicitly unmaternal from Olive’s pen, even if her diaries reveal that she left most of the work to the nanny, as was the custom. There is, however, a sad letter she wrote very soon after the birth in which she spoke of everything except the fact that she had just had a baby … reading this correspondence between her and Natalie Barney, just weeks after the birth, it was obvious to me that she was deep in the throes of post-natal depression.
And so it is a pleasure to have come across in my researches a photo that all the other scholars thought lost; Olive with Raymond as a baby. Here it is, in a smaller version than I am intending to include in the Collected Works that I expect to have finished in mid 2018.
SWEET! I have seen the argent moon astray
In crimson meadows of the morning sky,
Watched by the jealous Night too sad to ﬂy
Before the bright relentless sword of day.
So, your pale lovers see you pass them by.
Proud Beauty I like that wonderful gold ﬂower
The twilight gathers when the sun takes ﬂight,
And lays before the silver feet of Night,
Beauty that seen in dreams has such strange power
Shine, shine upon my darkness, lovely Light !
By what enchantment were you doomed to range
The forest of this world, where joys are few?
My heart is like a hound that follows you.
My heart, a princely hunter, hears your strange
Elusive laughter and must still pursue.
Oh, once my song-bird heart was free and wise,
But now its wings are tangled in Love’s snare,
For it has seen the sunshine of your hair,
The troubled beauty of your great blue eyes,
The wild-rose whiteness of your body fair.
In vain fate strives to keep us still apart,
Death could not do it even . . . though there be
Long leagues of land, broad wastes of shining sea
Between us, yet my heart is with your heart
When in the world of dreams you walk with me.