I stand transfigured, glorified aright,

With conscience of the new rays that proceed

Out of my face toward thine. There's nothing low

In love, when love the lowest: meanest creatures

Who love God, God accepts while loving so.

And what I feel, across the inferior features

Of what I am, doth flash itself, and show

How that great work of Love enhances Nature's.

XI

And therefore if to love can be desert,

I am not all unworthy. Cheeks as pale

As these you see, and trembling knees that fail

To bear the burden of a heavy heart,--

This weary minstrel-life that once was girt

To climb Aornus, and can scarce avail

To pipe now 'gainst the valley nightingale

A melancholy music,--why advert

To these things? O Beloved, it is plain

I am not of thy worth nor for thy place!

And yet, because I love thee, I obtain

From that same love this vindicating grace

To live on still in love, and yet in vain,--

To bless thee, yet renounce thee to thy face.

XII

Indeed this very love which is my boast,

And which, when rising up from breast to brow,

Doth crown me with a ruby large enow

To draw men's eyes and prove the inner cost,--

This love even, all my worth, to the uttermost,

I should not love withal, unless that thou

Hadst set me an example, shown me how,

When first thine earnest eyes with mine were crossed,

And love called love. And thus, I cannot speak

Of love even, as a good thing of my own:

Thy soul hath snatched up mine all faint and weak,

And placed it by thee on a golden throne,--

And that I love (O soul, we must be meek!)

Is by thee only, whom I love alone.

XIII

And wilt thou have me fashion into speech

The love I bear thee, finding words enough,

And hold the torch out, while the winds are rough,

Between our faces, to cast light on each?--

I drop it at thy feet. I cannot teach

My hand to hold my spirits so far off

From myself--me--that I should bring thee proof

In words, of love hid in me out of reach.

Nay, let the silence of my womanhood

Commend my woman-love to thy belief,--

Seeing that I stand unwon, however wooed,

And rend the garment of my life, in brief,

By a most dauntless, voiceless fortitude,

Lest one touch of this heart convey its grief.

XIV

If thou must love me, let it be for nought

Except for love's sake only. Do not say

"I love her for her smile--her look--her way

Of speaking gently,--for a trick of thought

That falls in well with mine, and certes brought

A sense of pleasant ease on such a day"--

For these things in themselves, Beloved, may

Be changed, or change for thee,--and love, so wrought,

May be unwrought so. Neither love me for

Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,--

A creature might forget to weep, who bore

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