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- A Lover's Diary, Volume 1. - 5/6 -

She gave me courage when I weakly said, "O see how drifting, derelict, am I! The tide runs counter, and the wind is high; I see no channel through the rocks ahead.

My arm is impotent; what worth to trim The bending sails! Look, I shall quaff a cup To Fate, while the wild ocean swallows up The shipwrecked youth, the man who lives in him."

She said: "But thou hast valour, dear, too much For such as this; thou hast grave embassy, Given with thy birth; would'st thou thine honour smutch

With coward failing? Dear son, breast the sea." Firm-purposed from that hour, through wind and wave, I brought my message till thou shelter gave.


When first I saw thee, lady, straightway came The thought that somehow, somewhere, destiny, Through blinding paths of happiness or blame, Would bend my way of life, my soul to thee.

But then I put it from me: was not I A wanderer? To-morrow I should be In other lands-beside another sea; Nay, you were but a star-gleam in my sky.

And so I came not in your sight awhile, You gave no thought, and I passed not away; But like some traveller in a deep defile

I walked in darkness even through the day: Until at last the hands of Circumstance Pointed the hour that waked me from my trance.


I did not will this thing. I set my face Towards duty and my art; I was alone. How knew I thou shouldst roll away the stone From hopes long buried, by thy tender grace?

What does it matter that we make resolve? The Fates laugh at us as they sit and spin; We cannot tell what Good is, or what Sin, Or why old faiths in mist of pain dissolve.

We only can stand watchful in the way, Waiting with patient hands on shield and sword, Ready to meet disaster in the fray,

Till Time has struck the letters of one word-- Word of such high-born worth: triumphant Love, Give me thy canopy where'er I rove.


As one who waiteth for the signet ring Of his dear sovereign, that his embassy May have clear passport over land and sea, And make the subject sacred as his king;

As waits the warrior for a pontiff's palm, Upraised in blessing o'er his high emprise; And bows his mailed forehead prayerful-wise, Sinking his turbulency in deep calm:

So waited I for one seal to be set Upon my full commission, for a sign That should make impotent man's "I forget,"

And make God's "I remember" more divine: Which should command at need the homage of The armed squadrons of all loyal love.


But yestermorn my marshalled hopes were held Upon the verge of august pilgrimage; To-day I am as birds that leave the cage To seek green fastnesses they knew of eld;

To-day I am as one who hides his face Within his golden beaver, and whose hand Clenches with pride his tried and conquering brand, Ay, as a hunter mounted for the chase.

For, see: upon my lips I carry now A touch that speaks reveille to my soul; I have a dispensation large enow

To enfold the world and circumscribe each pole. Slow let me speak it: From her lips and brow I took the gifts she only could endow.


O gifts divine as any ever knew The noble spirits of an antique time; As any poets fashion in their rhyme, Or angels whisper down the shadeless blue!

The priceless gifts of holy confidence, That speak through quivering lips from heart to heart; That unto life new energies impart, And open up the gates of prescience.

O dear my love, I unto thee have given Pledge that I am thy vassal evermore; I stand within the zenith of my Heaven,

On either hand a starred eternal shore I have come nearer to thy greater worth, For thou hast raised me from the common earth.


I can say now, "There was the confluence Of all Love's tributaries; there the sea Of Love spread out towards eternity; And there my coarser touched her finer sense.

Poor though I am in my own sight, I know That thou hast winnowed, sweet, what best I am; Upon my restlessness thy ample calm Hath fallen as on frost-bound earth the snow.

It hideth the harsh furrows that the wheels Of heavy trials made in Life's champaign; Upon its pure unfolding sunshine steals,

And there is promise of the spring again. Here make I proclamation of my faith, And poise my fealty o'er the head of Death."


If Death should come to me to-night, and say: "I weigh thy destiny; behold, I give One little day with this thy love to live, Then, my embrace; or, leave her for alway,

And thou shalt walk a full array of years; Upon thee shall the world's large honours fall, And praises clamorous shall make for all Thy strivings rich amends." If in my ears

Thou saidst, "I love thee!" I would straightway cry, "A thousand years upon this barren earth Is death without her: for that day I die,

And count my life for it of poorest worth." Love's reckoning is too noble to be told By Time's slow fingers on its sands of gold.


A Lover's Diary, Volume 1. - 5/6

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