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THE WARRIOR TO HIS DEAD BRIDE.
F in the fight my arm was strong,
And forced my foes to yield,
If conquering and unhurt I came
Back from the battle-field—
It is because thy prayers have been
My safeguard and my shield.
My comrades smile to see my arm
Spare or protect a foe,
They think thy gentle pleading voice
Was silenced long ago;
But pity and compassion, love,
Were taught me first by woe.
Thy heart, my own, still beats in Heaven
With the same love divine
That made thee stoop to such a soul,
So hard, so stern, as mine—
My eyes have learnt to weep, beloved,
Since last they looked on thine.
I hear thee murmur words of peace Through the dim midnight air,
And a calm falls from the angel stars And soothes my great despair—
The Heavens themselves look brighter, love Since thy sweet soul is there.
And if my heart is once more calm,
My step is once more free, It is because each hour I feel
Thou prayest still for me; Because no fate or change can come
Between my soul and thee.
It is because my heart is stilled,
Not broken by despair,
Because I see the grave is bright,
And death itself is fair—
I dread no more the wrath of Heaven—
I have an angel there!
EAR, I tried to write you such a letter As would tell you all my heart to-day. Written Love is poor; one word were better; Easier, too, a thousand times, to say.
I can tell you all: fears, doubts unheeding,
While I can be near you, hold your hand,
Looking right into your eyes, and reading
Reassurance that you understand.
Yet I wrote it through, then lingered, thinking
Of its reaching you,—what hour, what day;
Till I felt my heart and courage sinking
With a strange, new, wondering dismay.
"Will my letter fall," I wondered sadly,
"On her mood like some discordant tone,
Or be welcomed tenderly and gladly?
Will she be with others, or alone?
"It may find her too absorbed to read it,
Save with hurried glance and careless air:
Sad and weary, she may scarcely heed it;
Gay and happy, she may hardly care.
"Shall I—dare I—risk the chances?" slowly
Something,—was it shyness, love, or pride ?—
Chilled my heart, and checked my courage wholly;
So I laid it wistfully aside.
Then I leant against the casement, turning
Tearful eyes towards the far-off west,
Where the golden evening light was burning,
Till my heart throbbed back again to rest.
And I thought: "Love's soul is not in fetters,
Neither space nor time keep souls apart;
Since I cannot—dare not—send my letters,
Through the silence I will send my heart.
"If, perhaps now, while my tears are falling,
She is dreaming quietly alone,
She will hear my Love's far echo calling,
Feel my spirit drawing near her own.
"She will hear, while twilight shades enfold her, All the gathered Love she knows so well— Deepest Love my words have ever told her, Deeper still—all I could never tell.
"Wondering at the strange mysterious power
That has touched her heart, then she will say:—
'Some one whom I love, this very hour,
Thinks of me, and loves me, far away.'
"If, as well may be, to-night has found her
Full of other thoughts, with others by,
Through the words and claims that gather round her
She will hear just one, half-smothered sigh;
"Or will marvel why, without her seeking,
Suddenly the thought of me recurs;
Or, while listening to another speaking,
Fancy that my hand is holding hers."
So I dreamed, and watched the stars' far splendour
Glimmering on the azure darkness, start,—
While the star of trust rose bright and tender,
Through the twilight shadows of my heart