After these months of waiting, this is all!
Hope, dead, lies coffined, shrouded in despair,
With all the blessings of the outer air
Forgot, ’neath the black covering of a pall.
Only the darkening of the woodland ways,
A heart’s low moaning over wasted days.
The world to-day is radiant, as I ne’er
Could picture it in wildest dreaming, when
For long, long hours I lay in flowery glen
Or wooded copse, and tried in vain to tear
The glamour from my eyes, and face the glare
And tumult of the busy world of men.
I staked my all, and won! and ne’er again
Can my blest spirit know a heart’s despair.
And yet—and yet—why should it
be that now,
When all my heart has longed for is at last
Within my grasp, and I should be at rest,
A ghostly Something rising in the glow
Of Love’s own fire, an uninvited guest,
Taunts me with just one memory of the past!
The sky, grown dull through many waiting days,
Flashed into crimson with the sunrise charm,
So all my love, aroused to vague alarm,
Flushed into fire and burned with eager blaze.
I saw thee not as suppliant, with still gaze
Of pleading, but as victor,—and thine arm
Gathered me fast into embraces warm,
And I was taught the light of Love’s dear ways.
This day of triumph is no longer thine,
Oh conqueror, in calm exclusive power.—
As evermore, through storm, and shade, and shine,
Your woe my pain, your joy my ecstasy,
We breathe together,—so this blessed hour
Of self-surrender makes my jubilee!
I will forget those days of mingled bliss
And dear delicious pain,—will cast from me
All dreams of what I know can never be,
Even the remembrance of that parting kiss.
I knew that some day it would come to this
In spite of all our sworn fidelity,
That I must banish even memory,
And, sorrowing, learn to say, nor say amiss
I will forget.
I register this vow, and am content
That it be so. Ah me!—yet, if the door
Shut on our heaven might be asunder rent
Even now, and I could see the way we went,
I might retract my vow, and say no more
I will forget.
When summer comes, and when o’er hill and lea
The sun’s strong wooing glow hath patiently
Shed o’er the earth long days his golden dower,
And then, by force of his own loving power,
Drawn the hard frost, and left it passive, free
To give forth all its sweets untiringly,
Shall not the day rise fair for thee and me,
And all life seem but as an opening flower
When summer comes?