"The Beautiful Blue Danube"

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

They drift down the hall together;
       He smiles in her lifted eyes;
Like waves of that mighty river,
       The strains of the "Danube" rise.

They float on its rhythmic measure
       Like leaves on a summer-stream;
And here, in this scene of pleasure,
       I bury my sweet, dead dream.

Through the cloud of her dusky tresses,
       Like a star, shines out her face,
And the form his strong arm presses
       Is sylph like in its grace.

As a leaf on the bounding river
       Is lost in the seething sea,
I know that forever and ever
       My dream is lost to me.

And still the viols are playing
       That grand old wordless rhyme;
And still those two ate swaying
       In perfect tune and time.

If the great bassoons that mutter,
       If the clarinets that blow,
Were given a voice to utter
       The secret things they know,

Would the lists of the slam who slumber
       On the Danube's battle-plains
The unknown hosts outnumber
       Who die 'neath the "Danube's" strains?

Those fall where cannons rattle,
       'Mid the rain of shot and shell;
But these, in a fiercer battle,
       Find death in the music's swell.

With the river's roar of passion
       Is blended the dying groan;
But here, in the halls of fashion,
       Hearts break, and make no moan.

And the music, swelling and sweeping,
       Like the river, knows it all;
But none are counting or keeping
       The lists of these who fall.

from Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1883)

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