Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!

But love me for love's sake, that evermore

Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

XV

Accuse me not, beseech thee, that I wear

Too calm and sad a face in front of thine;

For we two look two ways, and cannot shine

With the same sunlight on our brow and hair.

On me thou lookest with no doubting care,

As on a bee shut in a crystalline;

Since sorrow hath shut me safe in love's divine,

And to spread wing and fly in the outer air

Were most impossible failure, if I strove

To fail so. But I look on thee--on thee--

Beholding, besides love, the end of love,

Hearing oblivion beyond memory;

As one who sits and gazes from above,

Over the rivers to the bitter sea.

XVI

And yet, because thou overcomest so,

Because thou art more noble and like a king,

Thou canst prevail against my fears and fling

Thy purple round me, till my heart shall grow

Too close against thine heart henceforth to know

How it shook when alone. Why, conquering

May prove as lordly and complete a thing

In lifting upward, as in crushing low!

And as a vanquished soldier yields his sword

To one who lifts him from the bloody earth,

Even so, Beloved, I at last record,

Here ends my strife. If thou invite me forth,

I rise above abasement at the word.

Make thy love larger to enlarge my worth!

XVII

My poet, thou canst touch on all the notes

God set between His After and Before,

And strike up and strike off the general roar

Of the rushing worlds a melody that floats

In a serene air purely. Antidotes

Of medicated music, answering for

Mankind's forlornest uses, thou canst pour

From thence into their ears. God's will devotes

Thine to such ends, and mine to wait on thine.

How, Dearest, wilt thou have me for most use?

A hope, to sing by gladly? or a fine

Sad memory, with thy songs to interfuse?

A shade, in which to sing--of palm or pine?

A grave, on which to rest from singing? Choose.

XVIII

I never gave a lock of hair away

To a man, Dearest, except this to thee,

Which now upon my fingers thoughtfully

I ring out to the full brown length and say

"Take it." My day of youth went yesterday;

My hair no longer bounds to my foot's glee,

Nor plant I it from rose- or myrtle-tree,

As girls do, any more: it only may

Now shade on two pale cheeks the mark of tears,

Taught drooping from the head that hangs aside

Through sorrow's trick. I thought the funeral-shears

Would take this first, but Love is justified,--

Take it thou,--finding pure, from all those years,

The kiss my mother left here when she died.

XIX

The soul's Rialto hath its merchandize;

I barter curl for curl upon that mart,

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