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I sought the first spring-buds for her, the fairest and the


And she wore them for their loveliness upon her spotless


The blood-root and the violet, the frail anemone,

She wore them, and alas! I deemed it was for love of me!

As flowers in a darksome place stretch forward to the light,

So to the memory of her I turn by day and night;
As flowers in a darksome place grow thin and pale and


So is it with my darkened heart, now that her light is


The thousand little things that love doth treasure up



And brood upon with moistened eyes when she that's

loved's away,

The word, the look, the smile, the blush, the ribbon that

she wore,

Each day they grow more dear to me, and pain me more and more.

My face I cover with my hands, and bitterly I weep, That the quick-gathering sands of life should choke a love so deep,

And that the stream, so pure and bright, must turn it from its track,

Or to the heart-springs, whence it rose, roll its full waters back!

As calm as doth the lily float close by the lakelet's brim, So calm and spotless, down time's stream, her peaceful days did swim,

And I had longed, and dreamed, and prayed, that closely by her side,

Down to a haven still and sure, my happy life might glide.

But now, alas! those golden days of youth and hope are


And I must dream those dreams of joy, those guiltless dreams no more;

Yet there is something in my heart that whispers cease


"Would God that I might see that face once more before I die!"



THERE is a light within her


Like gleams of wandering fire-flies;
From light to shade it leaps and moves
Whenever in her soul arise

The holy shapes of things she loves;
Fitful it shines and changes ever,
Like star-lit ripples on a river,
Or summer sunshine on the eaves
Of silver-trembling poplar leaves,
Where the lingering dew-drops quiver.
I may not tell the blessedness
Her mild eyes send to mine,
The sunset-tinted haziness
Of their mysterious shine,
The dim and holy mournfulness
Of their mellow light divine;
The shadow of the lashes lie
Over them so lovingly,

That they seem to melt away
In a doubtful twilight-gray,
While I watch the stars arise
In the evening of her eyes,
I love it, yet I almost dread
To think what it foreshadoweth;
And, when I muse how I have read

That such strange light betokened death

Instead of fire-fly gleams, I see

Wild corpse-lights gliding waveringly.


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With wayward thoughts her eyes are bright, Like shiftings of the northern-light,

Hither, thither, swiftly glance they,

In a mazy twining dance they,

Like ripply lights the sunshine weaves,
Thrown backward from a shaken nook,
Below some tumbling water-brook,
On the o'erarching platan-leaves,
All through her glowing face they flit,
And rest in their deep dwelling-place,
Those fathomless blue eyes of hers,
Till, from her burning soul re-lit,
While her upheaving bosom stirs,
They stream again across her face
And with such hope and glory fill it,
Death could not have the heart to chill it.
Yet when their wild light fades again,

I feel a sudden sense of pain,

As if, while yet her eyes were gleaming,
And like a shower of sun-lit rain

Bright fancies from her face were streaming,
Her trembling soul might flit away

As swift and suddenly as they.


A wild, inspirèd earnestness
Her inmost being fills,
And eager self-forgetfulness,

That speaks not what it wills,
But what unto her soul is given,
A living oracle from Heaven,
Which scarcely in her breast is born
When on her trembling lips it thrills,
And, like a burst of golden skies
Through storm-clouds on a sudden torn,
Like a glory of the morn,

Beams marvellously from her eyes.
And then, like a Spring-swollen river,
Roll the deep waves of her full-hearted thought
Crested with sun-lit spray,

Her wild lips curve and quiver, And my rapt soul, on the strong tide upcaught, Unwittingly is borne away,

Lulled by a dreamful music ever,

Far-through the solemn twilight-gray
Of hoary woods — through valleys green


Which the trailing vine embowers,

And where the purple-clustered grapes are seen
Deep-glowing through rich clumps of waving flowers-
Now over foaming rapids swept

And with maddening rapture shook

Now gliding where the water-plants have slept
For ages in a moss-rimmed nook
Enwoven by a wild-eyed band

Of earth-forgetting dreams,

I float to a delicious land
By a sunset heaven spanned,
And musical with streams;
Around, the calm, majestic forms
And god-like eyes of early Greece I see,
Ör listen, till my spirit warms,


To songs of courtly chivalry,

weep, unmindful if my tears be seen, For the meek, suffering love of poor Undine.


Her thoughts are never memories,
But ever changeful, ever new,

Fresh and beautiful as dew

That in a dell at noontide lies,

Or, at the close of summer day,
The pleasant breath of new-mown hay:
Swiftly they come and pass

As golden birds across the sun,
As light-gleams on tall meadow-grass
Which the wind just breathes upon.
And when she speaks, her eyes I see
Down-gushing through their silken lattices,
Like stars that quiver tremblingly
Through leafy branches of the trees,
And her pale cheeks do flush and glow
With speaking flashes bright and rare
As crimson North-lights on new-fallen snow,
From out the veiling of her hair-

Her careless hair that scatters down
On either side her eyes,

A waterfall leaf-tinged with brown
And lit with the sunrise.


When first I saw her, not of earth,
But heavenly both in grief and mirth,
I thought her; she did seem
As fair and full of mystery,
As bodiless, as forms we see
In the rememberings of a dream;
A moon-lit mist, a strange, dim light,
Circled her spirit from my sight;-
Each day more beautiful she grew,
More earthly every day,

Yet that mysterious, moony hue
Faded not all away;

She has a sister's sympathy

With all the wanderers of the sky,
But most I've seen her bosom stir
When moonlight round her fell,
For the mild moon it loveth her,
She loveth it as well,

And of their love perchance this grace
Was born into her wondrous face.
I cannot tell how it may be,

For both, methinks, can scarce be true,
Still, as she earthly grew to me,
She grew more heavenly too;

She seems one born in Heaven
With earthly feelings,

For, while unto her soul are given
More pure revealings

Of holiest love and truth,
Yet is the mildness of her eyes
Made up of quickest sympathies,

Of kindliness and ruth;

So, though some shade of awe doth stir

Our souls for one so far above us,

We feel secure that she will love us,

And cannot keep from loving her.

She is a poem, which to me

In speech and look is written bright,
And to her life's rich harmony
Doth ever sing itself aright;

Dear, glorious creature!

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