To Marie Louise (Shew)

     NOT long ago, the writer of these lines,
     In the mad pride of intellectuality,
     Maintained “the power of words”—denied that ever
     A thought arose within the human brain
     Beyond the utterance of the human tongue:
     And now, as if in mockery of that boast,
     Two words-two foreign soft dissyllables—
     Italian tones, made only to be murmured
     By angels dreaming in the moonlit “dew
     That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill,”—
     Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart,
     Unthought-like thoughts that are the souls of thought,
     Richer, far wider, far diviner visions
     Than even the seraph harper, Israfel,
     (Who has “the sweetest voice of all God’s creatures”)
     Could hope to utter. And I! my spells are broken.
     The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand.
     With thy dear name as text, though bidden by thee,
     I can not write-I can not speak or think—
     Alas, I can not feel; for ‘tis not feeling,
     This standing motionless upon the golden
     Threshold of the wide-open gate of dreams,
     Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista,
     And thrilling as I see, upon the right,
     Upon the left, and all the way along,
     Amid empurpled vapors, far away
     To where the prospect terminates-thee only!

This poem is in the public domain.