Poems (Botta)/The Ideal Found

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I’ve met thee, whom I dared not hope to meet,
Save in the enchanted land of my day-dreams:
Yes, in this common world, this waking state,
Thy living presence on my vision beams—
Life’s dream embodied in reality,
And in thine eyes I read indifference to me!

Yes, in those star-like eyes I read my fate,
My horoscope is written in their gaze;
My “house of life,” henceforth, is desolate:
But the dark aspect my firm heart surveys,
Nor faints, nor falters even for thy sake:
’Tis calm, and nerved, and strong: no, no, it shall not break!

For I am of that mood that will defy—
That does not cower before the gathering storm;
That face to face will meet its destiny,
And undismayed confront its darkest form.
Wild energies awaken in this strife,
This conflict of the soul with the grim phantom, Life.

But ah! if thou hadst loved me—had I been
All to thy dreams that to mine own thou art—
Had those dark eyes beamed eloquent on mine,
Pressed for one moment to that noble heart,
In the full consciousness of faith unspoken,
Life could have given no more—then had my proud heart broken!

The Alpine glacier from its height may mock
The clouds and lightnings of the winter sky,
And from the tempest and the thunder’s shock,
Gather new strength to lift its summit high;
But kissed by sunbeams of the summer day,
It bows its icy crest and weeps itself away.

Thou know’st the fable of the Grecian maid,
Wooed by the veiled immortal from the skies,—
How, in his full perfection, once she prayed,
That he would stand before her longing eyes;
And how that brightness, too intense to bless,
Consumed her o’erwrought heart with its divine excess.

To me there is a meaning in the tale.
I have not prayed to meet thee: I can brook
That thou should’st wear to me that icy veil;
I can give back thy cold and careless look:
Yet, shrined within my heart, still thou shalt seem,
What there thou ever wert, a beautiful, bright dream!