Like callow birds left desert to the skies.


The first time that the sun rose on thine oath

To love me, I looked forward to the moon

To slacken all those bonds which seemed too soon

And quickly tied to make a lasting troth.

Quick-loving hearts, I thought, may quickly loathe;

And, looking on myself, I seemed not one

For such man's love!--more like an out-of-tune

Worn viol, a good singer would be wroth

To spoil his song with, and which, snatched in haste,

Is laid down at the first ill-sounding note.

I did not wrong myself so, but I placed

A wrong on thee. For perfect strains may float

'Neath master-hands, from instruments defaced,--

And great souls, at one stroke, may do and doat.


Yes, call me by my pet-name! let me hear

The name I used to run at, when a child,

From innocent play, and leave the cowslips plied,

To glance up in some face that proved me dear

With the look of its eyes. I miss the clear

Fond voices which, being drawn and reconciled

Into the music of Heaven's undefiled,

Call me no longer. Silence on the bier,

While I call God--call God!--so let thy mouth

Be heir to those who are now exanimate.

Gather the north flowers to complete the south,

And catch the early love up in the late.

Yes, call me by that name,--and I, in truth,

With the same heart, will answer and not wait.


With the same heart, I said, I'll answer thee

As those, when thou shalt call me by my name--

Lo, the vain promise! is the same, the same,

Perplexed and ruffled by life's strategy?

When called before, I told how hastily

I dropped my flowers or brake off from a game.

To run and answer with the smile that came

At play last moment, and went on with me

Through my obedience. When I answer now,

I drop a grave thought, break from solitude;

Yet still my heart goes to thee--ponder how--

Not as to a single good, but all my good!

Lay thy hand on it, best one, and allow

That no child's foot could run fast as this blood.


If I leave all for thee, wilt thou exchange

And be all to me? Shall I never miss

Home-talk and blessing and the common kiss

That comes to each in turn, nor count it strange,

When I look up, to drop on a new range

Of walls and floors, another home than this?

Nay, wilt thou fill that place by me which is

Filled by dead eyes too tender to know change

That's hardest. If to conquer love, has tried,

To conquer grief, tries more, as all things prove,

For grief indeed is love and grief beside.

Alas, I have grieved so I am hard to love.

Yet love me--wilt thou? Open thy heart wide,

And fold within, the wet wings of thy dove.


When we met first and loved, I did not build

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