“And yet desert makes brighter not the less,
For nearest his own star he shall not fail
To think those rays unmatched for nobleness,
That distance counts but pale.
“Be pale afar, since still to me you shine,
And must while Nature’s eldest law shall hold;”—
Ah, there’s the thought which makes his random line
Dear as refined gold!
Then shall I drink this draft of oxymel,
Part sweet, part sharp? Myself o’erprized to know
Is sharp; the cause is sweet, and truth to tell
Few would that cause forego,
Which is, that this of all the men on earth
Doth love me well enough to count me great—
To think my soul and his of equal girth—
O liberal estimate!
And yet it is so; he is bound to me,
For human love makes aliens near of kin;
By it I rise, there is equality:
I rise to thee, my twin.
“Take courage”—courage! ay,
my purple peer
I will take courage; for thy Tyrian rays
Refresh me to the heart, and strangely dear
And healing is thy praise.
“Take courage,” quoth he, “and respect
Your Maker gave, for good your fate fulfil;
The fate round many hearts your own to wind.”
Twin soul, I will! I will!
As one who, journeying, checks the rein in haste
Because a chasm doth yawn across his way
Too wide for leaping, and too steeply faced
For climber to essay—
As such an one, being brought to sudden stand,
Doubts all his foregone path if ’twere the true,
And turns to this and then to the other hand
As knowing not what to do,—
So I, being checked, am with my path at strife
Which led to such a chasm, and there doth end.
False path! it cost me priceless years of life,
My well-beloved friend.
There fell a flute when Ganymede went up—
The flute that he was wont to play upon:
It dropped beside the jonquil’s milk-white cup,
And freckled cowslips wan—
Dropped from his heedless hand when, dazed and mute,
He sailed upon the eagle’s quivering wing,
Aspiring, panting—aye, it dropped—the flute
Erewhile a cherished thing.
Among the delicate grasses and the bells
Of crocuses that spotted a rill side,
I picked up such a flute, and its clear swells
To my young lips replied.
I played thereon, and its response was sweet;
But lo, they took from me that solacing reed.
“O shame!” they said; “such music is not meet;
Go up like Ganymede.
“Go up, despise these humble grassy things,
Sit on the golden edge of yonder cloud.”
Alas! though ne’er for me those eagle wings
Stooped from their eyry proud.