I look upon the world, beloved,
Thy world of lovers, friends and kin, and those acquaint
With thy rare beauty, all a-near, lacking restraint,
While I may not so much as draw thee near
To lay this little flow'ret at thy feet,
Nor thee so much as most remotely greet,
Alas, my sweet,
For that my soul doth wholly worship thine!
The butterfly may poise upon thy sleeve,
The south wind wanton with thy golden tress;
Soft praises daily greet, but do not grieve,
Thy dog may touch thy hand--feel thy caress,
All, all, the meanest and the noblest, homage pay,
While I must be by half the world's width banned away,
Lest my soul may,
In some mad moment, haply speak to thine!
Did I not hunger, then, why I could feast
By so much as thy tender smiles could satisfy;
Nor thirst, why then I might all freely drink
With glance to glance from the clear fountain of thine eye;
Were not a-cold, a-shiver, might draw nearer till
I' the sunlight of thy presence I could bask at will,
And linger still.
But ah, beloved, I do starve and thirst and freeze!
And so I dwell afar; and only fling
O'er crested mountain tops my thoughts to thee;
And pray the west winds that they backward bring
Some waft of thy fair weal or name to me.
For ease of pain, I delve in earth's rich mines: my toils
She meets in compensation with her lavish spoils,
But all my soul recoils
In scorn of treasure that is not for thee!
So looked I on thy world, beloved,
So bridged the thousand leagues that did divide
Till yesterday our lives, with thoughts denied
All speech, save to these crags and bending skies.
Now hush, my heart! what is this that they say?
Dead!--gone from earth?--thy life flown yesterday?
Oh, where is my today,
In Heaven or earth, since thou art wholly mine!
Mine--mine--mine only, through eternal years!
What matters now this little lapse of life?
The hunger, emptiness and burning tears,
The stern denial, and the bitter strife? Death can undo all bonds: and lately doth fulfill
Love's longing in divine possession, which doth thrill,
And all my soul now fill
With an immortal rapture, and with tears.
While thus I stand afar, beloved,
I know they will enrobe thy beauteous clay
In fairest vesture, and with flowers, and say
"Could she but speak, she would like this or that,
This so, or so shall be--she liked to wear
In this way all her rippling gold of hair,
So fair--so fair."
Then weeping with hid faces turned away
They two by two, unto the churchyard gray
Will follow thee away.
I feel, I know how these things all must be.
Their day has darkened to a rayless night,
My night has quivered thro' it's pain to golden day:
They lose what they possessed thro' sense and sight--
My heritage now comes to me for aye and aye!
And while to earth their precious treasure they resign,
I turn with outstretched arms to Heaven for mine,
O joy divine!
Where love shall have its own, at last, at last!