Brighter than snow on glittering Alps, the soul
Of my lost love was, bluer than the haze
Of those same hills, more violent and deep
Her eyes' clear gaze,
Dreaming of hidden wonders; and the goal
Of life grew luminous o'er Time's empurpled steep.
She loved me then; she loves me now, afar.
Ah, she knew not! and I, so steeped and stained
With fierce sins, knew myself unworthy of
The heart I gained,
And, a lost mariner whose polar star
He is ashamed to look to, cast away her love.
I would not have her love a thing so vile,
I would not link her life with such as mine!
O cursed sin, to leave my soul too high
To cheat the shrine!
I drave Love forth, Love lingered yet awhile
So that I might not quite win Hell before I die.
O little root of nobleness left thus
Dead since it has no power to grow, to bloom;
Live, since I may not bury it within
The gaping tomb
Where virtue lies, that I, imperious,
Long since interred with hope, and all life's joy save sin.