Aesthetic Papers/The Twofold Being


The dew of youth on her pure brow lay;
Her smile was the dawn of Spring's softest day;
Spring's rosy light was on all her way.

She seem'd an oasis in desert lands;
We thank'd God for her with lifted hands,
Then turn'd again to the weary sands.

But Life came on with its withering glare,
And swept down all the sweet beauty there,
And left the fount dry and the branches bare.

When I look'd again on her alter'd face,
The glow had all vanish'd, and left no trace,—
Not a lingering gleam of her maiden grace.

Yet that form, as in earliest beauty fair,
Can my mind shape out, in this evening air:
Not a trait, not a shadow, is wanting there.

So now two beings for one I find;
One walks on earth, one lives in my mind;
Yet mystic relations these two still bind.

O Seer! which the reality?—
The beauty, all gone ere again I could see;
Or this vision my soul hath eternally!

Yet there may be more than the eye can scan:
Have such bright creations no wider plan?
Doth God love the beautiful less than Man?

It seems as if nothing could fill our dearth;
But the beauty that stayed not on dark cold earth
May have fled again to the land of its birth.

It fled the pangs of life's constant rack;
But, when the soul takes the heavenward track,
It shall come like a sweet child nestling back.

For the loveliness that Earth's fairest wear
Must be one and the same with the beauty there
Of the transfigured angels of heavenly air.

And the parted soul shall take its stand
In familiar guise 'mid the sister-band,—
Deck'd with the glory of God's right hand.

And for us, when the walls of flesh are riven,
And to open'd spirit-eyes is given
To see the beloved again in heaven,—

'Mid the fathomless joys of that wondrous scene,
Will come once more the presence serene
Of that pure beauty's unearthly mien.

Then shall Time's veil uplifted be,
And our life's long dreams of anxiety,
Like clouds o'er a sunny hill, shall flee.

And it will be seen by the spirits pure,
How little is left upon earth to endure,
When we learn that all which is fair is sure.