Isabel

Where dwells she now? That life of joy
That seem'd as Time could ne'er destroy,
Nor frail infectious sense alloy,
Its self-derived and self-sufficing gladness?
Abides she in the bounds of space,
Or like a thought, a moment's grace,
Is she escaped from time and place,
The dull arithmetic of prison'd sadness?

May she behold this spot of earth,
This human home, that saw her birth
Her baby tears, her infant mirth,
The first quick stirrings of her human mind?
May she return to watch the flowers
She planted last in fairy bowers? —
They freshen yet with summer showers,
And gambol with the frolic summer wind.

That lovely form, that face so bright,
That changeful image of delight,
May it no more to waking sight,
Or spiritual ken, in very truth appear?
That visible shape, that kind warm glow —
That all that Heaven vouchsafed to shew —
'Tis gone. 'Twas all our sense could know,
Of her we loved, whom yet we hold so dear.

The world hath lost the antique faith,
In shade and spectre — warning wraith,
That wander'd forth to blast, and scathe
Poor earth-clogg'd, dark humanity.
No more the mystic craft of hell,
In cavern mirk, with impious spell,
Evokes the naked souls that dwell,
In uncreated night's manity.

'Tis well that creed is out of date,
And men have found, at last, though late,
That loathing fear, and fearful hate,
And rankling vengeance, all are cruel liars;
And all the doctrine that they teach
Of ghosts that roam when owlets screetch,
Is but the false, and fatal speech,
Of guilty terrors, or of worse desires.

But is there not a charm in love,
To call thy spirit from above?
Oh — had I pinions like a dove,
Were I like thee, a pure enfranchised soul,
Then might I see thee as thou art,
Receive thee in my inmost heart,
But can it be? She has no part,
In all she loved beneath the steadfast pole.
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