An Image from a Past Life

He. Never until this night have I been stirred.
   The elaborate star-light throws a reflection
   On the dark stream,
   Till all the eddies gleam;
   And thereupon there comes that scream
   From terrified, invisible beast or bird:
   Image of poignant recollection.

She. An image of my heart that is smitten through
   Out of all likelihood, or reason,
   And when at last,
   Youth's bitterness being past,
   I had thought that all my days were cast
   Amid most lovely places; smitten as though
   It had not learned its lesson.

He. Why have you laid your hands upon my eyes?
   What can have suddenly alarmed you
   Whereon 'twere best
   My eyes should never rest?
   What is there but the slowly fading west,
   The river imaging the flashing skies,
   All that to this moment charmed you?

She. A Sweetheart from another life floats there
   As though she had been forced to linger
   From vague distress
   Or arrogant loveliness,
   Merely to loosen out a tress
   Among the starry eddies of her hair
   Upon the paleness of a finger.

He. But why should you grow suddenly afraid
   And start - I at your shoulder -
   That any night could bring
   An image up, or anything
   Even to eyes that beauty had driven mad,
   But images to make me fonder?

She. Now she has thrown her arms above her head;
   Whether she threw them up to flout me,
   Or but to find,
   Now that no fingers bind,
   That her hair streams upon the wind,
   I do not know, that know I am afraid
   Of the hovering thing night brought me.