Forbear, my child! Thou feelest thee I love;
My heart, my blood I’d give, my love to prove,
And none would of their faith or church bereave.
That’s not enough, we must ourselves believe!
Ah, could I but thy soul inspire!
Thou honorest not the sacraments, alas!
I honor them.
But yet without desire;
’Tis long since thou hast been either to shrift or mass.
Dost thou believe in God?
My darling, who dares say?
Yes, I in God believe.
Question or priest or sage, and they
Seem, in the answer you receive,
To mock the questioner.
Then thou dost not believe?
Sweet one! my meaning do not misconceive!
Him who dare name,
And who proclaim—
Him I believe?
Who that can feel,
His heart can steel,
To say: I believe him not?
Holds and sustains he not
Thee, me, himself?
Lifts not the Heaven its dome above?
Doth not the firm-set earth beneath us lie?
And, beaming tenderly with looks of love,
Climb not the everlasting stars on high?
Do we not gaze into each other’s eyes?
Nature’s impenetrable agencies,
Are they not thronging on thy heart and brain,
Viewless, or visible to mortal ken,
Around thee weaving their mysterious chain?
Fill thence thy heart, how large soe’er it be;
And in the feeling when thou utterly art blest,
Then call it, what thou wilt—
Call it Bliss! Heart! Love! God!
I have no name for it!
’Tis feeling all;
Name is but sound and smoke
Shrouding the glow of heaven.
All this is doubtless good and fair;
Almost the same the parson says,
Only in slightly different phrase.
Beneath Heaven’s sunshine, everywhere,
This is the utterance of the human heart;
Each in his language doth the like impart;
Then why not I in mine?
What thus I hear
Sounds plausible, yet I’m not reconciled;
There’s something wrong about it; much I fear
That thou art not a Christian.
My sweet child!
Alas! it long hath sorely troubled me,
To see thee in such odious company.