She faded, but in beauty; — not a charm

She faded, but in beauty; — not a charm
Of feature or expression left her calm
And all-enduring look, that meekly bore
Smiles, as in happier years of infancy,
Before her roses withered; not a sigh
Escaped her, but she seemed to live in hope,
That kindled by deferring. She had fed
So long upon the higher sympathies,
And had so purified her heart's desires,
That all to her was spirit; and a veil
Of an ethereal tenderness was thrown
O'er all that once seemed beautiful; and thus
She saw no other world than such as faith
Had promised to her second life. No dark
And bigot frown o'ershadowed her fair brow,
That every day grew purer, till it seemed
Wrought of an angel's essence, and it rose
Calm as the cloudless canopy of heaven;
And through it came a light, that gave to all,
On whom it sweetly shone, her peacefulness
And silent hope. Her feelings ever grew
Softer, and everything that had a sense
Of suffering was pitied, if the winds
Blew chillier; and even the falling flowers
Were tenderly lamented. She had been
A devotee to Nature, and she felt
Intensely all its loveliness, and hung
Delighted on its wonders, not with dumb
And thoughtless ecstasy, but with an eye
That read a soul within them, and a voice
That hymned the song of gratitude. Her eye
Yet stole abroad at evening, when the wind
Is silent and the landscape all is still,
And flowers are folding up their dewy leaves,
And birds are going to their unfledged young
Hid in the clustered foliage; when the air
Just stirs enough to rock them to repose,
And crisp the surface of a silent stream,
That flashes in the last departing ray,
And circles with its sheet of flowing gold
The islet tufted with an iris crown,
And the bright purple of the floating leaves,
That wave along its current, as the wind
Sways them in graceful curves, and slowly turns
Their ever-changing mirrors to the sun,
Till the pool glitters with their glancing light.

She chose this hour of worship, and she knelt,
Not to the beautiful creatures she beheld,
But to their Common P ARENT ; — though the world
Might claim a spirit's awe, it spread so fair,
So awful, and so wonderful around,
And had such magic hues upon its clouds,
And such a tint of love upon its sky,
And such a blended harmony of light
And shadow, such a host of fairy forms
All mellowed by the misty evening air,
And lovelier in their softness, that a soul
Fresh from its fountain might have worshipped there
Such rare and countless beauty. There she bent,
Herself the fairest; and she first took in,
With an intensest pleasure, all the fair
And wondrous forms around her, and then raised
Her eyes in adoration. Then her brow
Met the clear sky, that was alone as pure,
And her keen eyes, that gathered, as her life
Grew weaker, more of spirit, till they flashed
With her soul's inward movings, — those keen eyes
Looked on the stars, that now came faintly forth
On their night watching, and they seemed to find,
In those ethereal messengers, their home;
And there was such an ecstasy, her form
Seemed changed to something heavenly, and to rise
As a dove rises on a quiet wing,
And float into her kindred purity.
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