But I sit and watch the west
Till the sun goes down, in vain;
It was only a cloud with an ivory crest,
A cloud of vapor and rain;
It rises and hides the sea,
And my heart grows chill and numb,
Lest this terrible thing should be,
That my ship will never come.
But the morn is bright—the wave
Is a golden and shining track,
Softly the waters the white sands lave,
And my trusting faith comes back;
Oh, all that I ever lost,
And all that I long to be,
Will be mine when the deep is crossed,
And my ship comes home from sea.
I said that I would see
Her once, to curse her fair, deceitful grace,
To curse her for my life-long agony;
But when I saw her face,
I said, “Sweet Christ, forgive both her and me.”
High swelled the chanted hymn,
Low on the marble swept the velvet pall,
I bent above, and my eyes grew dim,
My sad heart saw it all—
She loved me, loved me though she wedded him.
And then shot through my soul
A thrill of fierce delight, to think that he
Must yield her form, his all, to Death’s control,
The while her love for me
Would live, when sun and stars had ceased to roll.
But no, on the white brow,
Graved in its marble, was deep calm impressed,
Saying that peace had come to her through woe;
Saying, she had found rest
At last, and I, I must not love her now.
It may be in Heaven’s grace,
Beneath the shade of some immortal palm,
That God will let me see her angel face;
Then wild, wild heart be calm,
Wipe out that old love, every sorrowful trace.
I know that if it be,
We two should meet again in Paradise,
’Twould trouble her pure soul if she should see
The old grief in my eyes;
’Twould grieve her dear heart through eternity.
Wipe out that grief, my soul,
And shall I lose all love, in losing this?
Unclasp my spirit, self’s close stolid stole.
Are there no lives to bless?
So will I give my love, my life, no stinted dole.
God will note deeds and sighs,
Throned in far splendor on the heavenly hill,
Though mad sounds from this wretched planet rise—
Moans wild enough to fill
Heaven’s air, and drown its harps in doleful cries.
And angels shall look down,
Through incense rising from my godly deeds.
Approving gleam those eyes of tender brown;
Sure on a brow that bleeds,
The thorns should change to a more glorious crown.
Well done, my soul, well done,
Out of thy grief to rear a ladder tall
To reach the land that lies beyond the sun,
To scale the jasper wall,
And rise to glory on grief’s stepping stone.
God looks into the tide,
Angel and demon troubled, of a man’s mind;
And if my alms are scattered far and wide,
Only my love to find,
Only to pave a path to reach her side—