Looks backward on the tedious time he had

In the upper life,--so I, with bosom-swell,

Make witness, here, between the good and bad,

That Love, as strong as Death, retrieves as well.


My letters! all dead paper, mute and white!

And yet they seem alive and quivering

Against my tremulous hands which loose the string

And let them drop down on my knee to-night.

This said,--he wished to have me in his sight

Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring

To come and touch my hand . . . a simple thing,

Yet I wept for it!--this, . . . the paper's light . . .

Said, Dear I love thee; and I sank and quailed

As if God's future thundered on my past.

This said, I am thine--and so its ink has paled

With lying at my heart that beat too fast.

And this . . . O Love, thy words have ill availed

If, what this said, I dared repeat at last!


I think of thee!--my thoughts do twine and bud

About thee, as wild vines, about a tree,

Put out broad leaves, and soon there's nought to see

Except the straggling green which hides the wood.

Yet, O my palm-tree, be it understood

I will not have my thoughts instead of thee

Who art dearer, better! Rather, instantly

Renew thy presence; as a strong tree should,

Rustle thy boughs and set thy trunk all bare,

And let these bands of greenery which insphere thee,

Drop heavily down,--burst, shattered everywhere!

Because, in this deep joy to see and hear thee

And breathe within thy shadow a new air,

I do not think of thee--I am too near thee.


I see thine image through my tears to-night,

And yet to-day I saw thee smiling. How

Refer the cause?--Beloved, is it thou

Or I, who makes me sad? The acolyte

Amid the chanted joy and thankful rite

May so fall flat, with pale insensate brow,

On the altar-stair. I hear thy voice and vow,

Perplexed, uncertain, since thou art out of sight,

As he, in his swooning ears, the choir's amen.

Beloved, dost thou love? or did I see all

The glory as I dreamed, and fainted when

Too vehement light dilated my ideal,

For my soul's eyes? Will that light come again,

As now these tears come--falling hot and real?


Thou comest! all is said without a word.

I sit beneath thy looks, as children do

In the noon-sun, with souls that tremble through

Their happy eyelids from an unaverred

Yet prodigal inward joy. Behold, I erred

In that last doubt! and yet I cannot rue

The sin most, but the occasion--that we two

Should for a moment stand unministered

By a mutual presence. Ah, keep near and close,

Thou dove-like help! and when my fears would rise,

With thy broad heart serenely interpose:

Brood down with thy divine sufficiencies

These thoughts which tremble when bereft of those,

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