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Many Voices/The Touchstone

There was a garden, very strange and fair
With all the roses summer never brings.
The snowy blossom of immortal Springs
Lighted its boughs, and I, even I, was there.
There were new heavens, and the earth was new,
And still I told my heart the dream was true.

But when the sun stood still, and Time went out
Like a blown candle--when she came to me
Under the bride-veil of the blossomed tree,
Chill through the garden blew the winds of doubt,
And when, with starry eyes, and lips too near,
She leaned to me, my heart knew what to fear.

"It is no dream," she said. "What dream had stayed
So long? It is the blessed isle that lies
Between the tides of twin eternities.
It is our island; do not be afraid!"
Then, then at last my heart was well deceived;
I hid my eyes; I trembled and believed.

Her real presence sanctified my faith,
Her very voice my restless fears beguiled,
And it was Life that clasped me when she smiled,
But when she said "I love you!" it was Death.
That, that at least could neither be nor seem -
Oh, then, indeed, I knew it was a dream!