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Type of the antique Eome! Rich reliquary
Of lofty contemplation left to Time
By buried centuries of pomp and power!
At length—at length —after so many days

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And purified in their electric fire,
And sanctified in their elysian fire.
They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),
And are far up in Heaven—the stars I kneel to
In the sad, silent watches of my night;
While even in the meridian glare of day
I see them still—two sweetly scintillant
Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!

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At mom—at noon—at twilight dim—
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and woe—in good and ill —
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the Hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee;
Now, when storms of Fate o'ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my Future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine!


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 wilder, 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 cannot write—I cannot speak or 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 unpurpled vapours, far away
To where the prospect terminates—thee only.


Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,

The angels, whispering to one another, Can find, among their burning terms of love,

None so devotional as that of " Mother," Therefore by that dear name I long have called you —

You, who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you

In setting my Virginia's spirit free.
My mother—my own mother, who died early,

Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,

And thus are dearer than the mother I knew By that infinity with which my wife

Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.

* Addressed to a lady who well deserved that name from PoeMaria Clemm, his mother-in-law. See Willis's "Hurry-Graphs —ed.

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