Upon the event with marble. Could it mean

To last, a love set pendulous between

Sorrow and sorrow? Nay, I rather thrilled,

Distrusting every light that seemed to gild

The onward path, and feared to overlean

A finger even. And, though I have grown serene

And strong since then, I think that God has willed

A still renewable fear . . . O love, O troth . . .

Lest these enclasped hands should never hold,

This mutual kiss drop down between us both

As an unowned thing, once the lips being cold.

And Love, be false! if he, to keep one oath,

Must lose one joy, by his life's star foretold.


Pardon, oh, pardon, that my soul should make

Of all that strong divineness which I know

For thine and thee, an image only so

Formed of the sand, and fit to shift and break.

It is that distant years which did not take

Thy sovranty, recoiling with a blow,

Have forced my swimming brain to undergo

Their doubt and dread, and blindly to forsake

Thy purity of likeness and distort

Thy worthiest love to a worthless counterfeit.

As if a shipwrecked Pagan, safe in port,

His guardian sea-god to commemorate,

Should set a sculptured porpoise, gills a-snort

And vibrant tail, within the temple-gate.


First time he kissed me, he but only kissed

The fingers of this hand wherewith I write;

And ever since, it grew more clean and white.

Slow to world-greetings, quick with its "O, list,"

When the angels speak. A ring of amethyst

I could not wear here, plainer to my sight,

Than that first kiss. The second passed in height

The first, and sought the forehead, and half missed,

Half falling on the hair. O beyond meed!

That was the chrism of love, which love's own crown,

With sanctifying sweetness, did precede

The third upon my lips was folded down

In perfect, purple state; since when, indeed,

I have been proud and said, "My love, my own."


Because thou hast the power and own'st the grace

To look through and behind this mask of me,

(Against which, years have beat thus blanchingly,

With their rains,) and behold my soul's true face,

The dim and weary witness of life's race,--

Because thou hast the faith and love to see,

Through that same soul's distracting lethargy,

The patient angel waiting for a place

In the new Heavens,--because nor sin nor woe,

Nor God's infliction, nor death's neighbourhood,

Nor all which others viewing, turn to go,

Nor all which makes me tired of all, self-viewed,--

Nothing repels thee, . . . Dearest, teach me so

To pour out gratitude, as thou dost, good!


Oh, yes! they love through all this world of ours!

I will not gainsay love, called love forsooth:

I have heard love talked in my early youth,

And since, not so long back but that the flowers

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