To Marie Louise.
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 —
Two gentle sounds made only to be murmured
By angles dreaming in the moon-lit "dew
That hands like chains of pearl on Hermon hill"
Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart
Unthought-like thoughts — scarcely the shades of thought —
Bewildering fantasies — far richer visions
Than even the seraph harper, Israfel,
Who "had the sweetest voice of all God's creatures,"
Would hope to utter. Ah, Marie Louise!
In deep humility I own that now
All pride — all thought of power — all hope of fame —
All wish for Heaven — is merged forevermore
Beneath the palpitating tide of passion
Heaped o'er my soul by thee. Its spells are broken —
The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand — [page 2:]
With that dear name as text I cannot write —
I cannot speak — I cannot even think —
Alas! I cannot 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 the clouds of glory, far away
To where the prospect terminates — thee only.