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Type of the antique Eome! Rich reliquary
And purified in their electric fire,
At mom—at noon—at twilight dim—
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,
TO MY MOTHER*
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,
In setting my Virginia's spirit free.
Was but the mother of myself; but you
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.