TO W. M.
Most of these verses were written in the author’s early youth, and were published in a volume called ‘Preludes,’ now out of print. Other poems, representing the same transitory and early thoughts, which appeared in that volume, are now omitted as cruder than the rest; and their place is taken by the few verses written in maturer years.
My heart shall be thy garden. Come, my own,
Into thy garden; thine be happy hours
Among my fairest thoughts, my tallest flowers,
From root to crowning petal, thine alone.
Thine is the place from where the seeds are sown
Up to the sky enclosed, with all its showers.
But ah, the birds, the birds! Who shall build bowers
To keep these thine? O friend, the birds have flown.
For as these come and go, and quit our pine
To follow the sweet season, or, new-comers,
Sing one song only from our alder-trees.
My heart has thoughts, which, though thine eyes hold
Flit to the silent world and other summers,
With wings that dip beyond the silver seas.
We never meet; yet we meet day by day
Upon those hills of life, dim and immense:
The good we love, and sleep—our innocence.
O hills of life, high hills! And higher than they,
Our guardian spirits meet at prayer and play.
Beyond pain, joy, and hope, and long suspense,
Above the summits of our souls, far hence,
An angel meets an angel on the way.
Beyond all good I ever believed of thee
Or thou of me, these always love and live.
And though I fail of thy ideal of me,
My angel falls not short. They greet each other.
Who knows, they may exchange the kiss we give,
Thou to thy crucifix, I to my mother.
Thou who singest through the earth,
All the earth’s wild creatures fly thee,
Everywhere thou marrest mirth.
Dumbly they defy thee.
There is something they deny thee.
Pines thy fallen nature ever
For the unfallen Nature sweet.
But she shuns thy long endeavour,
Though her flowers and wheat
Throng and press thy pausing feet.
Though thou tame a bird to love thee,
Press thy face to grass and flowers,
All these things reserve above thee
Secrets in the bowers,
Secrets in the sun and showers.
Sing thy sorrow, sing thy gladness.
In thy songs must wind and tree
Bear the fictions of thy sadness,
For their truth is not for thee.
Wait, and many a secret nest,
Many a hoarded winter-store
Will be hidden on thy breast.
Things thou longest for
Will not fear or shun thee more.