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With eyes so dewy bright,
And tenderest feeling
In every look and feature,
Welcome as a homestead light
To one long-wandering in a clouded night;
O, lovelier for her woman's weakness,
Which yet is strongly mailed
In armor of courageous meekness
And faith that never failed!
Early and late, at her soul's gate,
Sits Chastity in warderwise,
No thoughts unchallenged, small or great,
Go thence into her eyes;
Nor may a low, unworthy thought
Beyond that virgin warder win,
Nor one, whose password is not "ought,"
May go without or enter in.
I call her, seeing those pure eyes,
The Eve of a new Paradise,
Which she by gentle word and deed,
And look no less, doth still create
About her, for her great thoughts breed
A calm that lifts us from our fallen state,
And makes us while with her both good and great
Nor is their memory wanting in our need: With stronger loving, every hour, Turneth my heart to this frail flower, Which, thoughtless of the world, hath grown To beauty and meek gentleness, Here in a fair world of its own By woman's instinct trained alone A lily fair which God did bless, And which from Nature's heart did draw Love, wisdom, peace, and Heaven's perfect law.
I BUILT an altar in my soul,
I builded it to one alone;
And ever silently I stole,
In happy days of long-agone,
To make rich offerings to that ONE.
"T was garlanded with purest thought, And crowned with fancy's flowers bright, With choicest gems 't was all inwrought Of truth and feeling; in my sight It seemed a spot of cloudless light.
Yet when I made my offering there, Like Cain's, the incense would not rise; Back on my heart down-sank the prayer, And altar-stone and sacrifice
Grew hateful in my tear-dimmed eyes.
O'er-grown with age's mosses green, The little altar firmly stands;
It is not, as it once hath been,
A selfish shrine; these time-taught hands Bring incense now from many lands.
Knowledge doth only widen love; The stream, that lone and narrow rose, Doth, deepening ever, onward move, And with an even current flows Calmer and calmer to the close.
The love, that in those early days Girt round my spirit like a wall, Hath faded like a morning haze, And flames,-unpent by self's mean thrall, Rise clearly to the perfect ALL.
I CANNOT say a scene is fair
Because it is beloved of thee,
But I shall love to linger there,
For sake of thy dear memory;
I would not be so coldly just
As to love only what I must.
I cannot say a thought is good
Because thou foundest joy in it;
Each soul must choose its proper food
Which Nature hath decreed most fit;
But I shall ever deem it so
Because it made thy heart o'erflow.
I love thee for that thou art fair;
And that thy spirit joys in aught
Createth a new beauty there,
With thine own dearest image fraught;
And love, for others' sake that springs,
Gives half their charm to lovely things.
DEDICATED TO MY FRIEND, JOHN F. HEATH.
I FEEL the bandages unroll
That bound my inward seeing;
Freed are the bright wings of my soul,
Types of my god-like being;
High thoughts are swelling in my heart
And rushing through my brain;
May I never more lose part
In my soul's realm again!
All things fair, where'er they be,
In earth or air, in sky or sea,
I have loved them all, and taken
All within my throbbing breast;
No more my spirit can be shaken
From its calm and kingly rest!
Love hath shed its light around me,
Love hath pierced the shades that bound me;
Mine eyes are opened, I can see
The universe's mystery,
The mighty heart and core
Of After and Before
Upward! upward evermore,
To Heaven's open gate I soar!
Little thoughts are far behind me,
Which, when custom weaves together,
All the nobler man can tether.
Cobwebs now no more can bind me!
Now fold thy wings a little while,
My tranced soul, and lie
At rest on this Calypso-isle
That floats in mellow sky,
A thousand isles with gentle motion
Rock upon the sunset ocean;
A thousand isles of thousand hues,
How bright! how beautiful! how rare!
Into my spirit they infuse
A purer, a diviner air;
The earth is growing dimmer,
And now the last faint glimmer
Hath faded from the hill;
But in my higher atmosphere
The sun-light streameth red and clear,
Fringing the islets still; -
Love lifts us to the sun-light,
Though the whole world would be dark;
Love, wide Love, is the one light,
All else is but a fading spark;
Love is the nectar which doth fill
Our soul's cup even to overflowing,
And, warming heart, and thought, and will,
Doth lie within us mildly glowing,
From its own centre raying out
Beauty and Truth on all without.
Each on his golden throne, Full royally, alone,
I see the stars above me,
With sceptre and with diadem;
Mildly they look down and love me,
For I have ever yet loved them;
I see their ever-sleepless eyes
Watching the growth of destinies;
The eyes of Fate,
They wink not, nor do roll,
But search the depths of soul
And in those mighty depths they see
The germs of all Futurity,
Waiting but the fitting time
To burst and ripen into prime,
As in the womb of mother Earth
The seeds of plants and forests lie
Age upon age and never die
So in the souls of all men wait,
Undyingly the seeds of Fate;
Chance breaks the clod and forth they spring,
Filling blind men with wondering.
Eternal stars! with holy awe,
As if a present God I saw,
I look into those mighty eyes
And see great destinies arise,
As in those of mortal men
Feelings glow and fade again!
All things below, all things above,
Are open to the eyes of Love.
Of Knowledge Love is master-key,
Knowledge of Beauty; passing dear
Is each to each, and mutually
Each one doth make the other clear;
Beauty is Love, and what we love
Straightway is beautiful,
So is the circle round and full,
And so dear Love doth live and move
And have his being,