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We parted on the mountains, as two streams
From one clear spring pursue their several ways;
And thy fleet course hath been through many a maze
In foreign lands, where silvery Padus gleams
To that delicious sky, whose glowing beams
Brighten’d the tresses that old Poets praise ;
Where Petrarch's patient love, and artful lays,
And Ariosto's song of
Moved the soft air. But I, a lazy brook,
As close pent up within my native dell,
Have crept along from nook to shady nook,
Where flowrets blow, and whispering Naiads dwell.
Yet now we meet, that parted were so wide,
O'er rough and smooth to travel side by side.
The Man, whose lady-love is virgin Truth,
Must woo a lady that is hard to win:
She smiles not on the wild and wordy din
Of all-confiding, all-protesting Youth ;
The Sceptic's apathy; the garb uncouth,
And Cynic sneer of o'er-experienced Sin,
The Serpent, writhing in its worn-out skin,
Craving again to flesh its sated tooth,
She quite abhors. She is not fond, nor coy-
Self-seeking love, and self-appraising scorn,
She knows not. She hath utterly forsworn,
Her worldly dower of wealth, and pride, and joy-
Her very beauty none but they discover,
Who for herself, not for her beauty, love her.
What was't awaken'd first the untried ear
Of that sole man who was all human kind ?
Was it the gladsome welcome of the wind,
Stirring the leaves that never yet were sere ?
The four mellifluous streams which flow'd so near,
Their lulling murmers all in one combined ?
The note of bird unnamed? The startled hind
Bursting the brake-in wonder, not in fear,
Of her new lord? Or did the holy ground
Send forth mysterious melody to greet
The gracious pressure of immaculate feet?
Did viewless seraphs rustle all around,
Making sweet music out of air as sweet?
Or his own voice awake him with its sound?
I loved thee once, when every thought of mine
Was hope and joy,—and now I love thee still,
In sorrow and despair :-a hopeless will
From its lone purpose never can decline.
I did not choose thee for my Valentine
By the blind omen of a merry season,
'Twas not thy smile that brib'd my partial reason,
Tho' never maiden's smile was good as thine:-
Nor did I to thy goodness wed my heart,
Dreaming of soft delights and honied kisses,
Although thou wert complete in every part,
A stainless paradise of holy blisses :
I lov’d thee for the lovely soul thou art,-
Thou canst not change so true a love as this is.
Is love a fancy, or a feeling ? No,
It is immortal as immaculate Truth.
'Tis not a blossom, shed as soon as youth
Drops from the stem of life—for it will grow
In barren regions, where no waters flow,
Nor ray of promise cheats the pensive gloom.
A darkling fire, faint hovering o'er a tomb,
That but itself and darkness nought doth shew,
Is my love's being,-yet it cannot die,
Nor will it change, though all be chang'd beside ;
Tho’ fairest beauty be no longer fair,
Tho'vows be false, and faith itself deny,
Tho'sharp enjoyment be a suicide,
And hope a spectre in a ruin bare.