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To Marie Louise

1. To Marie Louise

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,

Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista,

And thrilling as I see upon the right,

Upon the left, and all the way along

Amid empurpled vapors, far away

To where the prospect terminates — thee only.

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