BETA


In Love’s Eternity,


My body was part of the sun and the dew,1
Not a trace of my death to me clave ;2
There was scarce a man left on the earth whom I knew,3
And another was laid in my grave ;—4
I was changed and in heaven ; the great sea of blue5
Had long washed my soul pure in its wave.6
My sorrow was turned to a beautiful dress ;7
Very fair for my weeping was I,8
And my heart was renewed, but it bore, none the less,9
The great wound that had brought me to die10
The deep wound that She gave who wrought all my distress11
Ah, my heart loved her still in the sky !12
I wandered alone where the stars’ tracks were bright ;13
I was beauteous and holy and sad ;14
I was thinking of her who of old had the might15
To have blest me and made my death glad ;16
I remembered how faithless she was, and how light,17
Yea, and how little pity she had.18
The love that I bore her was now more sublime,19
It could never be shared now or known ;20
And her wound in my heart was a pledge in love’s clime,21
For her sake I was ever alone,22
Till the spirit of God in the fulness of time23
Should make perfect all love in his own.24
My soul had forgiven each separate tear25
She had bitterly wrung from my eyes ;26
But I thought of her lightness—ah, sore was my fear27
She would fall somewhere never to rise,28
And that no one would love her to bring her soul near29
To the heaven where love never dies.30

She had drawn me with feigning, and held me a day ;31
She had taken the passionate price32
That my heart gave for love—with no doubt or delay33
For I thought that her smile would suffice ;34
She had played with, and wasted, and then cast away35
The true heart that could never love twice.36
And false must she be ; she had followed the cheat37
That ends loveless and hopeless below ;38
I remembered her words’ cruel worldly deceit39
When she bade me forget her and go.40
She could ne’er have believed after death we might meet,41
Or she would not have let me die so !42
I thought and was sad ; the blue fathomless seas43
Bore the white clouds in luminous throng,44
And the souls that had love were in each one of these ;45
They passed by with a great upward song :46
They were going to wander beneath the fair trees47
In high Eden—their joy would be long.48
An age it is since : the great passionate bloom49
Of eternity burns more intense ;50
The whole heaven draws near to its beautiful doom51
With a deeper, a holier sense ;52
It feels ready to fall on His bosom in whom53
Is each love and each love’s recompense.54
How sweet to look back to that desolate space55
When the heaven scarce my heaven seemed !56
She came suddenly, swiftly, a great healing grace57
Filled her features and forth from her streamed !58
With a cry our lips met, and a long close embrace59
Made the past like a thing I had dreamed.60
Ah, love,’ she began, ‘when I found you were dead61
I was changed and the world was changed too ;62
On a sudden I felt that the sunshine had fled,63
And the flowers and summer gone too ;64
Life but mocked me ; I found there was nothing instead65
But to turn back and weep all in you.66
When you were not there to fall down at my feet,67
And pour out the whole passionate store68
Of the heart that was made to make my heart complete,69
In true words that my memory bore,70
Then I found that those words were the only words sweet,71
And I knew I should hear them no more.72
I found that my life was grown empty again ;73
Day and year now I had but to learn74
How my heaven had come to me—sought me in vain,75
And was gone from me ne’er to return :76
Too earthly and winterly now seemed the plain77
Of dull life where the heart ceased to burn !78
And soon with a gathering halo was seen,79
O’er a dim waste that fell into night,80
Your coming, your going—as though it had been81
The fair track of an angel of light ;82
And my dream showed you changed in a spirit’s full sheen83
Fleeing from me in far lonely flight.84
My Angel ! ’twas then with a soul’s perfect stake85
You came wooing me, day after day,86
With soft eyes that shed tears for my sake and the sake87
Of intense thoughts your lips would not say ;88
’Twas a love, then, like this my heart cared not to take !89
’Twas a heart like this I cast away !90
Ah yes !— but your love was a fair magic toy91
That you gave to a child who scarce deigned92
To receive it—forsook it for some passing joy,93
Never guessing the charm it contained :94
But you gave it and left it, and none could destroy95
The fair talisman where it remained.96
And, surely, no child—but a woman at last97
Found your gift where the child let it he,98
Understood the whole secret it held, sweet and vast,99
The fair treasure a world could not buy ;100
And believed not the meaning could ever have past,101
Any more than the giver could die.102
And then did that woman’s whole life, with a start,103
Own its lover, its saviour, its lord ;104
He had come, he had wooed her,—and lo, her dull heart105
Had not hailed him with one stricken chord106
Of whole passion—had suffered him e’en to depart107
Without hope of a lover’s reward !108
But, surely, there failed not at length his least look,109
His least pleading, his most secret tear110
Quite to win her and save her ; her heart truly took111
A fond record of all : very dear,112
Very gracious he seemed ; and for him she forsook113
The drear ruin her soul had come near.114
For him she made perfect her life, till she laved115
Her soul pure in the infinite blue :116
O thou Lover, who once, for a love deathless craved117
A brief heaven of years frail and few,118
Take the child whom you loved and the woman you saved119
In the Angel who now blesses you ! ’120
She ceased. To my soul’s deepest sources the sense121
Of her words with a full healing crept,122
And my heart was delivered with rapture intense123
From the wound and the void it had kept ;124
Then I saw that her heart was a heaven—immense125
As my love ! And together we wept.126