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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.
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere—
The leaves they were withering and sere; It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
In the misty mid region of Weir—
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Here once, through an alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul—
These were days when my heart was volcanic
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere—
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year—
We noted not the dim lake of Auber—
(Though once we had journeyed down here)—
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
And now, as the night was senescent
And star-dials pointed to morn—
As the star-dials hinted of morn— At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born, Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn— Astarte's bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.
And I said—" She is warmer than Dian: