Sonnet XXIV: 'Farewell once more,--and yet again farewell!
Farewell once more,--and yet again farewell!
I cannot quit thee. On thy lips I press
A parting kiss. I cease from my caress;
Slowly I loose thy waist; the troubled swell
Of thy fair bosom, with the sighs that tell
Thy own emotion, falls from me. I bless
Thy downcast head; upon each lustrous tress
Rest my poor hands, as if some sacred spell
Were in my benediction. Then I try
A sudden parting. Ah! how whirls my brain!
How pang crowds pang; how pain leaps over pain!
My purpose falters; o'er my senses fly
Oblivious clouds; and then--I know not why--
Lo! I am hanging on thy lips again!
They at the altar pledge their formal vow,
Then go, and straight forget that vow was made--
These common lovers, making marriage trade,
Who often wed sore heart to moody brow.
Not thus we married, for the temple now
Bends o'er us both, in which is daily said
Love's sacrament, and ever on thy head,
Glistens the chaplet of the orange bough.
Immortal bride, in every grateful prayer
My heart renews our holy marriage tie,
Vows at thy voice, thy touch, thy laugh, thy sigh;
And Hope, white-favored, through the sunny air
Points with a solemn smile to mansions fair,
As Heaven's abode for love that cannot die.
'O for my sake do you with fortune chide'--
I almost took sad Shakespeare's thought for mine,
So closely fits his sonnet line by line
The wretched case in which my life was tried.
Fraud, falsehood, avarice, the beastly pride
That swells the entrails of the gorging swine,
The selfish greed that guzzles filth as wine,
The grovelling spite that vaunts what it should hide;
All these foul things have compassed me around,
And with this hell of baseness I have striven,
Till God's ten laws in solemn jest seemed given.
Then do not wonder that I kissed the ground
Beneath thy feet; my joy was so profound,
To hail a soul that was designed in heaven.