Bayard Taylor image

Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878


If Love Should Come Again

by Bayard Taylor

If Love should come again, I ask my heart
In tender tremors, not unmixed with pain,
Couldst thou be calm, nor feel thine ancient smart,
If Love should come again?

Couldst thou unbar the chambers where his nest
So long was made, and made, alas! in vain,
Nor with embarrassed welcome chill thy guest,
If Love should come again?

Would Love his ruined quarters recognize,
Where shrouded pictures of the Past remain,
And gently turn them with forgiving eyes,
If Love should come again?

Would bliss, in milder type, spring up anew,
As silent craters with the scarlet stain
Of flowers repeat the lava's ancient hue,
If Love should come again?

Would Fate, relenting, sheathe the cruel blade
Whereby the angel of thy youth was slain,
That thon might'st all possess him, unafraid,
If Love should come again?

In vain I ask: my heart makes no reply,
But echoes evermore the sweet refrain;
Till, trembling lest it seem a wish, I sigh:
If Love should come again!

THE darkness and the twilight have an end,
Said Ernest, as he laid the book aside,
And, with a tenderness he could not hide,
Smiled, seeing in the eyes of wife and friend
The same soft dew that made his own so dim.
My heart was strangely moved, but not for him.
The holy night, the stars that twinkled faint,
Serfs of the regnant moon, the slumbering trees
And silvery hills, recalled fair memories
Of her I knew, his life's translated saint,
Who seemed too sacred now, too far removed,
To be by him lamented or beloved.
And yet she stood, I knew, by Ernest's side
Invisible, a glory in the heart,
A light of peace, the inner counterpart
Of that which round us poured its radiant tide.

We sat in silence, till a wind, astray
From some uneasy planet, shook the vines
And sprinkled us with snow of eglantines.
The laurels rustled as it passed away,
And, million-tongued, the woodland whisper crept
Of leaves that turned in sleep, from tree to tree
All down the lawn, and once again they slept.
Then Edith from her tender fantasy
Awoke, yet still her pensive posture kept,
Her white hands motionless upon her knee,
Her eyes upon a star that sparkled through
The mesh of leaves, and hummed a wandering air,
(As if the music of her thought it were,)
Low, sweet, and sad, until to words it grew
That made it sweeter, -- words that Ernest knew:

Love, I follow, follow thee,
Wipe thine eyes and thou shalt see:
Sorrow makes thee blind to me.

I am with thee, blessing, blest;
Let thy doubts be laid to rest:
Rise, and take me to thy breast!

In thy bliss my steps behold:
Stretch thine arms and bliss enfold:
'T is thy sorrow makes me cold.

Life is good, and life is fair,
Love awaits thee everywhere:
Love! is Love's immortal prayer.

Live for love, and thou shalt be,
Loving others, true to me:
Love, I follow, follow thee!

Thus Edith sang: the stars heard, and the night,
The happy spirits, leaning from the wall
Of Heaven, the saints, and God above them all,
Heard what she sang. She ceased: her brow was bright
With other splendor than the moon's: she rose,
Gave each a hand, and silently we trod
The dry, white gravel and the dewy sod,
And sllently we parted for repose.


The Poet's Journal
Copyright 1863
Ticknor and Fields, Boston