Page:The torrent and The night before.djvu/46

This page has been validated.


And yet so swiftly!—there came the knowledge
That the marvelous life I had lived was my life;
That the glorious world I had loved was my world;—
And that every man and every woman
And every child was a different being,
Wrought, with a different heat and fired
With passions born of a single spirit;—
That the pleasure I felt was not their pleasure,
Nor my sorrow—a kind of nameless pity
For something, I knew not what—their sorrow.
And thus was I taught my first hard lesson,—
The lesson we suffer the most in learning:
That a happy man is a man forgetful
Of all the torturing ills around him.

When or where I first met the woman
I cherished and made my wife, no matter.
Enough to say that I found her and kept her
Here in my heart with as pure a devotion
As ever Christ felt for his brothers. Forgive me
For naming his name in your patient presence;
But I feel my words, and the truth I utter
Is God’s own truth. I loved that woman!—
Not for her face, but for something fairer—
Something diviner—I thought—than beauty:
I loved the spirit—the human something
That seemed to chime with my own condition,
And make soul-music when we were together;—
And we were never apart from the moment
My eyes flashed into her eyes the message
That swept itself in a quivering answer
Back through my strange lost being. My pulses
Leapt with an aching speed; and the measure
Of this great world grew small and smaller,
Till it seemed the sky and the land and the ocean
Closed at last in a mist all golden
Around us two.—And we stood for a season