I saw her once—her eye’s deep light
Fell on my spirit’s deeper night,
The only beam that e’er illumed
Its shadows drear. The glance was slight,
But oh, what softness it assumed!
I saw her twice—her glance again
Lit up its fire within my brain;
My thoughts leaped up, like lightning warm,
And felt a sweetness mixed with pain,
While gath’ring wildly round her form.
I saw her thrice—she was alone,
And her deep glance more deeply shone
Upon my heart with rapture chained,
The thrill was a meteor thrown
Athwart some sky where darkness reigned!
I saw her yet again—and clear,
But low, her rich tones met my ear;
They wandered thro’ my bosom sad,
As waters thro’ a woodland sere,
That make decay itself seem glad.
The fifth time I saw her—and still
She taught my quiv’ring heart to thrill,
Like some wild hand upon a lyre,
That’s borne along, without its will,
Across the strings of magic fire!
I saw her oft again—, each hour
Enhanced o’er me her conquering power;
Her image in my thought became
A spirit-planted, fadeless flower;
And all my music was her name!
I loved the earth on which she trod—
More beautiful than if a God
Had placed immortal foot-prints there!
I loved the world, though dark its load
Of ills, because she breathed its air!
I loved her slightest careless word—
More sweet than matin of the bird
That scales the Heaven on mounting wing!
It through my maddened pulses stirred,
As though it were a living thing.
Oh, that ’rapt heart’s forever gone,
That boweth once to Beauty’s throne,
And feels the bliss her looks inspire;
For, oh, the seeds of death are sown,
When love assumes its mad empire!
This poem is in the public domain.