Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
How shall I know thee in the sphere which keeps
The disembodied spirits of the dead,
When all of thee that time could wither sleeps
And perishes among the dust we tread?
For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain
If there I meet thy gentle presence not;
Nor hear the voice I love, nor read again
In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.
Will not thy own meek heart demand me there?
That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given;
My name on earth was ever in thy prayer,
And wilt thou never utter it in heaven?
In meadows fanned by heaven’s life-breathing wind,
In the resplendence of that glorious sphere,
And larger movements of the unfettered mind,
Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here?
The love that lived through all the stormy past,
And meekly with my harsher nature bore,
And deeper grew, and tenderer to the last.
Shall it expire with life, and be no more?
A happier lot than mine, and larger light,
Await thee there; for thou hast bowed thy will
In cheerful homage to the rule of right,
And lovest all, and renderest good for ill.
For me, the sordid cares in which I dwell,
Shrink and consume my heart, as heat the scroll;
And wrath has left its scar—that fire of hell
Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.
Yet though thou wear’st the glory of the sky,
Wilt thou not keep the same belovèd name,
The same fair thoughtful brow, and gentle eye,
Lovelier in heaven’s sweet climate, yet the same?
Shalt thou not teach me, in that calmer home,
The wisdom that I learned so ill in this—
The wisdom which is love—till I become
Thy fit companion in that land of bliss?
The clouds have gathered soon to-night,
They hang above the quiet sea,
And through the air a muffled sound
Is borne to me
From that dim island where the souls
Of all the Ages lie at rest;
It beats upon my throbbing brain
And troubled breast.
If thou wert standing on the shore
Beside me now, and held my hand,
I think that I should hear it plain
For there is one note in it all,
Which loud and clear has come to me,
And I have caught it in my heart
To tell to thee.
“Eyes steadfast from the watch of worlds,
Hearts big with secrets of the spheres,
We have no power to move you now
With hopes or fears.”
“No power,” thy soul has filled my soul,
Thy life has rounded all of mine,
Thy love has girt me with a strength
Which is divine.
And when that sound perchance one day
Comes to us with a mighty roll,
We two shall stand unmoved, and hear
And learn the whole.
My true love from her pillow rose
And wandered down the summer lane.
She left her house to the wind’s carouse,
And her chamber wide to the rain.
She did not stop to don her coat,
She did not stop to smooth her bed—
But out she went in glad content
There where the bright path led.
She did not feel the beating storm,
But fled like a sunbeam, white and frail,
To the sea, to the air, somewhere, somewhere—
I have not found her trail.
Strange fits of passion have I known:
And I will dare to tell,
But in the lover's ear alone,
What once to me befell.
When she I loved looked every day
Fresh as a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way,
Beneath an evening-moon.
Upon the moon I fixed my eye,
All over the wide lea;
With quickening pace my horse drew nigh
Those paths so dear to me.
And now we reached the orchard-plot;
And, as we climbed the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot
Came near, and nearer still.
In one of those sweet dreams I slept,
Kind Nature's gentlest boon!
And all the while my eye I kept
On the descending moon.
My horse moved on; hoof after hoof
He raised, and never stopped:
When down behind the cottage roof,
At once, the bright moon dropped.
What fond and wayward thoughts will slide
Into a Lover's head!
"O mercy!" to myself I cried,
"If Lucy should be dead!"