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VI.

Again with a lifted voice, like a choral trumpet that

takes The lowest note of a viol that trembles, and triumphing

breaks

On the air with it solemn and clear,— Behold! I have

sinned not in this ! Where I loved, I have loved much and well, I have verily loved not amiss.

Let the living,' she said,

'Inquire of the dead, In the house of the pale-fronted images : My own true dead will answer for me, that I have not

loved amiss

In my love for all these.

VII. * The least touch of their hands in the morning, I keep

it by day and by night; Their least step on the stair, at the door, still throbs

through me, if ever so light; Their least gift, which they left to my childhood, far

off in the long-ago years, Is now turned from a toy to a relic, and seen through the crystals of tears.

Dig the snow,' she said,

For my churchyard bed,
Yet I, as I sleep, shall not fear to freeze,

If one only of these my beloveds, shall love me with heart-warm tears,

As I have loved these !

VIII. 'If I angered any among them, from thenceforth my

own life was sore ; If I fell by chance from their presence, I clung to their

memory more: Their tender I often felt holy, their bitter I sometimes

called sweet; And whenever their heart has refused me, I fell down straight at their feet.

I have loved,' she said,

“Man is weak, God is dread, Yet the weak man dies with his spirit at ease, Having poured such an unguent of love but once on

the Saviour's feet,

As I lavished for these.'

IX.

Go, I cried, thou hast chosen the Human, and left the

Divine! Then, at least, have the Human shared with thee their

wild berry-wine ? Have they loved back thy love, and when strangers

approached thee with blame, Have they covered thy fault with their kisses, and

loved thee the same ?

But she shrunk and said,

'God, over my head, Must sweep in the wrath of his judgment-seas, If He shall deal with me sinning, but only indeed the

same

And no gentler than these.'

VOL. II.

LOVED ONCE.

I CLASSED, appraising once,
Earth’s lamentable sounds,--the welladay,

The jarring yea and nay,
The fall of kisses on unanswering clay,
The sobbed farewell, the welcome mournfuller,--

But all did leaven the air
With a less bitter leaven of sure despair

Than these words—'I loved ONCE.'

II.

And who saith, “I loved ONCE'?
Not angels,—whose clear eyes, love, love foresee,

Love, through eternity,
And by To Love do apprehend To Be.
Not God, called Love, His noble crown-name casting

A light too broad for blasting:
The great God changing not from everlasting,

Saith never, 'I loved ONCE.'

III.
Oh, never is “Loved ONCE'
Thy word, thou Victim-Christ, misprizëd friend!

Thy cross and curse may rend,
But having loved Thou lovest to the end.
This is man's saying-man's : too weak to move

One spherëd star above,
Man desecrates the eternal God-word Love

. By his No More, and Once.

IV.
How say ye, “ We loved once,'
Blasphemers ? Is your earth not cold enow,

Mourners, without that snow ?
Ah, friends, and would ye wrong each other so ?
And could ye say of some whose love is known,

Whose prayers have met your own,
Whose tears have fallen for you, whose smiles have shone

So long,—-We loved them ONCE' ?

Could ye, ' We loved her once,'
Say calm of me, sweet friends, when out of sight?

When hearts of better right
Stand in between me and your happy light?
Or when, as flowers kept too long in the shade,

Ye find my colours fade,
And all that is not love in me, decayed ?

Such words—Ye loved me ONCE!

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