Dante to Beatrice on Earth

It is come home to me in secret hour —
O thou who sharest of the soul in me,
And givest of thyself into my power
The very essence of the heart of thee, —
We do in this commingling but rehearse,
With weary awkwardness of hands and feet,
And with what marrings of immortal verse,
A life that love forsworn but makes complete.
This being so, O one of all my heart,
Witness what turn of iron consequence
Upon us comes: the woven hands must part,
And right and left must be an exit hence.
Love shall withdraw to be love evermore, —
Ring down the curtain, and the play give o'er.

For you and I are shadows of the Light,
We are but echoes of a perfect Song;
We hold dominion but as stars, in night,
Our blended voices, are they ever strong?
What shall we say, whose struggle to pursue
A valorous role but bare escapes the sting
Of shamed surrender, would the words come true
By Babylon's waters should we try to sing?
Hush, hush, O heart! The other side of sky
There is, believe it, love, a wondrous Hand
Forever wiping eyes forever dry;
There are no willows growing in that land,
And never shall the lips of love be mute,
God making of our hearts a faultless lute.

There have been lovers since the stars were young;
We come upon a scene which time has worn;
There have been who their souls away have flung
And found them afterward, bruised all and torn.
Matching their mortal with a deathless thing,
The brave and beauteous spirit they have spurned,
Risen unchanged, shall they have heart to sing,
Burning forever as on earth they burned?
There in our heaven of unsundered bliss,
If any tears were left us to bestow,
Should not the thought of their triumphless kiss
Cause the sweet currents of old grief to flow?
Yet though tears burned the cheeks of their despair,
The hand of God shall not be busy there.
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