O sweet woods the delight of solitariness

two pages

[Sestina to Sidney]

O sweet woods the delight of solitariness ,
Forget that far Elizabethan autumn,
Drown my heart deep beneath your drifting leaves.
Rust and dead earth have long consumed that sword
Drawn by a poet in defence of beauty,
Drawn by a poet in defence of love.

Triumphant soul, who lived and died for love,
Fly on the wind to share this solitariness,
On this rough wind that sways the woods of autumn
To strew your path with gold of drifting leaves :
Walk here once more ; forget the rusty sword,
Remember only this autumnal beauty.

It has not changed with years, this rustling beauty :
Since last you lingered here to dream of love,
To cherish your delight in solitariness,
Walking enchanted through the woods of autumn
Beneath a golden canopy of leaves,
Nothing has changed here but the rusting sword.

Yet now between us lies the rusty sword :
You came to joy in solitary beauty.
I came to take farewell of life and love.
Do I intrude upon your solitariness,
Ghost of that far Elizabethan autumn
Dreaming forever of these drifting leaves?

You rested on this bank of rustling leaves,
And idly watched the sunlight on your sword :
You left your dreams of courtesy and beauty
To cross the sea for honour of your love,
Entered alone a greater solitariness
And came no more to see the woods of autumn.

my second side to continue

Cold in that far Elizabethan autumn
A shadow fell across the drifting leaves
War and destruction, rust upon the sword :
I walk amid this new autumnal beauty
Dreading the doom of beauty and of love
In mad destruction’s wilful solitariness .
Farewell to solitariness, farewell to autumn :
Far from these rustling leaves I draw my sword
To vindicate their beauty and my love .

[ Marion wrote this out on a single side of paper. Undated . The paper as well as the writing matches Lie down… ]