Above her, pearl and rose the heavens lay;
Around her, flowers scattered earth with gold,
Or down the path in insolence held sway--
Like cavaliers who ride the elves' highway--
Scarlet and blue, within a garden old.
Beyond the hills, faint-heard through belts of wood,
Bells, Sabbath-sweet, swooned from some far-off town;
Gamboge and gold, broad sunset colors strewed
The purple west as if, with God imbued,
Her mighty pallet Nature there laid down.
Amid such flowers, underneath such skies,
Embodying all life knows of sweet and fair,
She stood; love's dreams in girlhood's face and eyes,
White as a star that comes to emphasize
The mingled beauty of the earth and air.
Behind her, seen through vines and orchard trees,
Gray with its twinkling windows--like the face
Of calm old-age that sits and smiles at ease--
Porched with old roses, haunts of honey-bees,
The homestead loomed dim in a glimmering space.
Ah! whom she waited in the afterglow,
Soft-eyed and dreamy 'mid the lily and rose,
I do not know, I do not wish to know;--
It is enough I keep her picture so,
Hung up, like poetry, o'er my life's dull prose.
A fragrant picture, where I still may find
Her face untouched of sorrow or regret,
Unspoiled of contact, ever young and kind,
Glad spiritual sweetheart of my soul and mind,
She had not been, perhaps, if we had met.