UPON my lips she laid her touch divine,
And merry speech and careless laughter died ;
She fixed her melancholy eyes on mine,
And would not be denied.
I saw the West-wind loose his cloudlets white,
In flocks, careering through the April sky;
I could not sing, though joy was at its height,
For she stood silent by.
I watched the lovely evening fade away, —
A mist was lightly drawn across the stars.
She broke my quiet dream, — I heard her say,
“ Behold your prison-bars !
“ Earth’s gladness shall not satisfy your soul, —
This beauty of the world in which you live ;
The crowning grace that sanctifies the whole,
That I alone can give.”
I heard, and shrank away from her afraid ;
But still she held me, and would still abide.
Youth’s bounding pulses slackened and obeyed,
With slowly ebbing tide.
“ Look thou beyond the evening sky,” she said,
“ Beyond the changing splendors of the day.
Accept the pain, the weariness, the dread,
Accept, and bid me stay! ”
I turned and clasped her close, with sudden strength,
And slowly, sweetly, I became aware
Within my arms God’s angel stood, at length,
White-robed and calm and fair.
And now I look beyond the evening star,
Beyond the changing splendors of the day,
Knowing the pain He sends more precious far,
More beautiful, than they.