To Melanthe

I saw thee, like a lovely dream,—
I heard thy flowery voice,—
I saw that eye of mildness beam,
And even the air around did seem,
In brightness, to rejoice.

Thou wert before me, pure and fair,
A nymph, a saint, a child
Of very loveliness, and there
Was glory, such as angels wear,
When all that beauty smiled.

Thou wert before me, but my heart
Was anything but gay,—
There was a quick, a sudden start,
And then my spirit took no part,
But wandered far away.

It could not rest in that delight,
So natural to thine,—
It had been darkling long in night,
And it was round thee all too bright,
Too gentle, too divine.

The thoughts of many hopeless years,
Dark, visionary hours,
Wild phantoms of unholy fears,
The woe that wrings, the grief that sears,—
They could not dwell with flowers.

Thou hadst a smile for me,—for me.
O, would that I had known
A friend, a more than friend, like thee,
When my young heart was pure and free,
When love was newly blown!

My life had been a dearer thing,—
I had not then despaired;
And all the many joys, that fling
Their colors round the fleeting wing
Of time, been with thee shared.

O, thou wert all I could have dreamed,
In love's first purple bloom;
I saw thee smile, and then it seemed
As if a blessed vision beamed,
All light and all perfume.

The very air was musical,—
A glory round thee flowed,—
The winds sank to a dying fall,
And melody encircled all
In that serene abode.

It could not last,—it would not stay,—
It was not real,—no.
Yet thou didst speak to me,—they say
Such memories cannot pass away,
And it is with me so.

That smile,—that smile,—it was not mine;
And yet on me it smiled.
Would I had met thee so divine,
When I could dare to call me thine,
A boy, and thou a child!English
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