I contemplate all alone
The life that had been thine below,
And fix my thoughts on all the glow
which thy crescent would have grown;
see thee sitting crown’d with good,
A central warmth diffusing bliss
In glance and smile, and clasp and kiss,
all the branches of thy blood;
blood, my friend, and partly mine;
For now the day was drawing on,
When thou should’st link thy life with one
mine own house, and boys of thine
babbled ‘Uncle’ on my knee;
But that remorseless iron hour
Made cypress of her orange flower,
of Hope, and earth of thee.
seem to meet their least desire,
To clap their cheeks, to call them mine.
I see their unborn faces shine
the never-lighted fire.
see myself an honour’d guest,
Thy partner in the flowery walk
Of letters, genial table-talk,
deep dispute, and graceful jest;
now thy prosperous labour fills
The lips of men with honest praise,
And sun by sun the happy days
below the golden hills
promise of a morn as fair;
And all the train of bounteous hours
Conduct by paths of growing powers,
reverence and the silver hair;
slowly worn her earthly robe,
Her lavish mission richly wrought,
Leaving great legacies of thought,
spirit should fail from off the globe;
time mine own might also flee,
As link’d with thine in love and fate,
And, hovering o’er the dolorous strait
the other shore, involved in thee,
at last the blessed goal,
And He that died in Holy Land
Would reach us out the shining hand,
take us as a single soul.
reed was that on which I leant?
Ah, backward fancy, wherefore wake
The old bitterness again, and break
low beginnings of content.