O many and many a day before we met,
I knew some spirit walked the world alone,
Awaiting the Beloved from afar;
And I was the anointed chosen one
Of all the world to crown her queenly brows
With the imperial crown of human love,
And light its glory in her happy eyes.
I saw not with mine eyes so full of tears,
But heard Faith's low sweet singing in the night,
And groping thro' the darkness, touched God's hand.
I knew my sunshine somewhere warm'd the world,
Tho' I trod darkling in a perilous way;
And I should reach it in His own good time
Who sendeth sun, and dew, and love for all:
My heart might toil on blindly, but, like earth,
It kept sure footing thro' the thickest gloom.
Earth, with her thousand voices, talked of thee!
Sweet winds, and whispering leaves, and piping birds;
The trickling sunlight, and the flashing dews;
Eve's crimson air and light of twinkling gold;
Spring's kindled greenery, and her breath of balm;
The happy hum and stir of summer woods,
And the light dropping of the silver rain.
Thine eyes oped with their rainy lights, and laughters,
In April's tearful heaven of tender blue,
With all the changeful beauty melting thro' them,
And Dawn and Sunset ended in thy face.
And standing as in God's own presence-chamber,
When silence lay like sleep upon the world,
And it seem'd rich to die, alone with Night,
Like Moses 'neath the kisses of God's lips!
The stars have trembled thro' the holy hush,
And smiled down tenderly, and read to me
The love hid for me in a budding breast,
Like incense folded in a young flower's heart.
Strong as a sea-swell came the wave of wings,
Strange trouble trembled thro' my inner depths,
And answering wings have sprung within my soul:
And from the dumb waste places of the dark,
A voice has breathed, "She comes!" and ebb'd again;
While all my life stood listening for thy coming.
O, I have guessed thy presence out of sight,
And felt it in the beating of my heart.
When all was dark within, sweet thoughts would come,
As starry guests come golden down the gloom,
And thro' Night's lattice smile a rare delight:
While, lifted for the dear and distant Dawn,
The face of all things wore a happy light,
Like those dream-smiles which are the speech of Sleep.
Thus Love lived on, and strengthen'd with the days,
Lit by its own true light within my heart,
Like a live diamond burning in the dark.
Then came there One, a mirage of the Dawn:
She swam on towards me in her sumptuous triumph,
Voluptuously upborne, like Aphrodite
Upon a meadowy swell of emerald sea.
A ripe, serene, smile-affluent graciousness
Hung like a shifting radiance on her motion,
As bickering hues upon the Dove's neck burn.
Her lip might flush a wrinkled life in bloom!
Her eyes were an omnipotence of love!
"O eyes!" I said, "if such your glories be,
Sure 'tis a warm heart feedeth ye with light!"
The silver throbbing of her laughter pulsed
The air with music rich and resonant--
As, from the deep heart of a summer night,
Some bird in sudden sparklings of fine sound
Hurries its startled being into song.
And from her sumptuous wealth of golden hair
Unto the delicate pearly finger-tip,
Fresh beauty trembled from its thousand springs:
And standing in the outer porch of life,
All eager for the templed mysteries,
With a rich heart as full of fragrant love
As May's musk-roses are of morning's wine,
What marvel if I question'd not her brow,
For the flame-signet of the Hand divine,
Or gauged it for the crown of my large love?
I plunged to clutch the pearl of her babbling beauty,
Like some swift diver in a shallow stream,
That smites his life out on its heart of stone.
Ah! how my life did run with fire and tears!
With what a Titan-pulse my love did beat!
But she, rose-lined without--God pity her!--
Was cold at heart as snow in last year's nest,
And struck like death into my burning brain.
My tears, that rain'd out life, she froze in falling,
And wore them, jewel-like, to deck her triumph!
But love is never lost tho' hearts run waste;
Its tides may gush 'mid swirling, swathing deserts,
Where no green leaf drinks up the precious life:
Yet love doth evermore enrich itself--
Its bitterest waters run some golden sands!
No star goes down but climbs in other skies;
The rose of Sunset folds its glory up,
To burst again from out the heart of Dawn;
And love is never lost tho' heart run waste,
And sorrow makes the chasten'd heart a seer;
The deepest dark reveals the starriest hope,
And Faith can trust her heaven behind the veil.