Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.
This one is really difficult to understand for me. Old English, although I understand the single words, the sentences do not really say something to me.
I understand, that the writer compares his love to a bright star. He wishes his feelings could be as steadfast as a star. Not in its loneliness but in its continuity.
The Writer was already I’ll when he wrote those lines. He knew, that his love wouldn’t be unchangeable or for ever. He knew, his dream would stay unfulfilled.