A Brother's Love to His Sister

Full ill, I ween, can measured speech reveal
Or thought embody, what true bosoms feel,
For hollow falsehood long has set her sign
On each soft phrase that speaks a love like mine:
The choicest terms are now enfeoff'd to folly,
To vain delight, or wilful melancholy.

Oh! for a virgin speech, a strain untainted
By worldly use, with holy meaning sainted,
Thoughts to conceive, and words devote to tell
The strength divine of love, its secret spell,
Of brother's love, that is within the heart
A spiritual essence, and exists apart
From passion, vain opinion, hopes and fears,
And every pregnant cause of smiles and tears.
A life that owes no fealty to the will,
Nor takes infection of connateral ill—
That feels no hunger and admits no doubt,
Nor asks for succour of the world without,
But is, itself, its own perfected end,
The one sole point to which its workings tend.

A love like this so pure of earthly leaven,
That hath no likeness in the earth or heaven,
No correspondent in the world of sight,
No symbol in the total Infinite
Was ne'er engendered in the soul or eye
From ought conceived of form or quality,
He loves not right that asks, or answers why,
It is not born of weakness, common needs,
Or gainful traffic in convenient deeds:
The joy, the good, that name and being owe
To sin and pain, it can and will forego;
For moral good is but the thrall of time,
That marks the bourne of virtue, and of crime.
A joy it hath that underived of pain,
Its proper nature, shall for aye retain:
A good it is that cannot cease or change
With man's desire, or wild opinion's range:
A law it is, above all human state
A perfect freedom, and an absolute fate.
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