To either then an untold tale
Was Life, and author, hero, we.
The chapters holding peaks to scale,
Or depths to fathom, made our glee;
For we were armed of inner fires,
Unbled in us the ripe desires;
And passion rolled a quiet sea,
Whereon was Love the phantom sail.
Unto that love must we through fire attain,
Which those two held as breath of common air;
The hands of whom were given in bond elsewhere;
Whom Honour was untroubled to restrain.
Midway the road of our life’s term they met,
And one another knew without surprise;
Nor cared that beauty stood in mutual eyes;
Nor at their tardy meeting nursed regret.
To them it was revealed how they had found
The kindred nature and the needed mind;
The mate by long conspiracy designed;
The flower to plant in sanctuary ground.
Avowed in vigilant solicitude
For either, what most lived within each breast
They let be seen: yet every human test
Demanding righteousness approved them good.
She leaned on a strong arm, and little feared
Abandonment to help if heaved or sank
Her heart at intervals while Love looked blank,
Life rosier were she but less revered.
An arm that never shook did not obscure
Her woman’s intuition of the bliss —
Their tempter’s moment o’er the black abyss,
Across the narrow plank—he could abjure.
Then came a day that clipped for him the thread,
And their first touch of lips, as he lay cold,
Was all of earthly in their love untold,
Beyond all earthly known to them who wed.
So has there come the gust at South-west flung
By sudden volt on eves of freezing mist,
When sister snowflake sister snowdrop kissed,
And one passed out, and one the bell-head hung.
They have no song, the sedges dry,
And still they sing.
It is within my breast they sing,
As I pass by.
Within my breast they touch a string,
They wake a sigh.
There is but sound of sedges dry;
In me they sing.
Sunset worn to its last vermilion he;
She that star overhead in slow descent:
That white star with the front of angel she;
He undone in his rays of glory spent
Halo, fair as the bow-shot at his rise,
He casts round her, and knows his hour of rest
Incomplete, were the light for which he dies,
Less like joy of the dove that wings to nest.
Lustrous momently, near on earth she sinks;
Life’s full throb over breathless and abased:
Yet stand they, though impalpable the links,
One, more one than the bridally embraced.