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Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878


The Vision

by Bayard Taylor


She came, long absent from my side,
And absent from my dreams, she came,
The earthly and the heavenly bride,
In maiden beauty glorified:
She looked upon me, angel-eyed:
She called me by my name.


But I, whose heart to meet her sprang
And shook the fragile house of dreams,
Stood, smitten with a guilty pang:
In other groves and temples rang
The songs that once for her I sang,
By woods and faery streams.



Her eyes had power to lift my head,
And, timorous as a truant child,
I met the sacred light they shed,
The light of heaven around her spread:
She read my face; no word she said:
I only saw she smiled.


Canst thou forgive me, Angel mine,
I cried; that Love at last beguiled
My heart to build a second shrine?
See, still I kneel and weep at thine,
But I am human, thou divine!

Still silently she smiled.


Dost undivided worship claim,
To keep thine altar undefiled?
Or must I bear thy tender blame,
And in thy pardon feel my shame,
Whene'er I breathe another name?

She looked at me, and smiled.


Speak, speak! and then my tears came fast,
My troubled heart with doubt grew wild:
Will 't vex the love, which still thou hast,
To know that I have peace at last?

And from my dream the vision passed,
And still, in passing, smiled.


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