Motives.

A poem by Marietta Holley

I said that I would see
Her once, to curse her fair, deceitful grace,
To curse her for my life-long agony;
But when I saw her face,
I said, "Sweet Christ, forgive both her and me."

High swelled the chanted hymn,
Low on the marble swept the velvet pall,
I bent above, and my eyes grew dim,
My sad heart saw it all -
She loved me, loved me though she wedded him.

And then shot through my soul
A thrill of fierce delight, to think that he
Must yield her form, his all, to Death's control,
The while her love for me
Would live, when sun and stars had ceased to roll.

But no, on the white brow,
Graved in its marble, was deep calm impressed,
Saying that peace had come to her through woe;
Saying, she had found rest
At last, and I, I must not love her now.

It may be in Heaven's grace,
Beneath the shade of some immortal palm,
That God will let me see her angel face;
Then wild, wild heart be calm,
Wipe out that old love, every sorrowful trace.

I know that if it be,
We two should meet again in Paradise,
'Twould trouble her pure soul if she should see
The old grief in my eyes;
'Twould grieve her dear heart through eternity.

Wipe out that grief, my soul,
And shall I lose all love, in losing this?
Unclasp my spirit, self's close stolid stole.
Are there no lives to bless?
So will I give my love, my life, no stinted dole.

God will note deeds and sighs,
Throned in far splendor on the heavenly hill,
Though mad sounds from this wretched planet rise -
Moans wild enough to fill
Heaven's air, and drown its harps in doleful cries.

And angels shall look down,
Through incense rising from my godly deeds.
Approving gleam those eyes of tender brown;
Sure on a brow that bleeds,
The thorns should change to a more glorious crown.

Well done, my soul, well done,
Out of thy grief to rear a ladder tall
To reach the land that lies beyond the sun,
To scale the jasper wall,
And rise to glory on grief's stepping stone.

God looks into the tide,
Angel and demon troubled, of a man's mind;
And if my alms are scattered far and wide,
Only my love to find,
Only to pave a path to reach her side -

Will he accept from me
My worship, gifts - the heavens are very still,
No answer do I hear, no sign I see,
If I but knew His will;
Would He would come a-walking on the sea.

* * * * *

The storm is overpast, for sweet and fair
A sudden radiance shone o'er wave and lea;
And in the glory trembling through the air,
He came unto me walking on the sea.

The heavy waves that had rushed to and fro
Cowered at His feet in sudden melody;
And all transfigured in the shining glow
Did He come to me walking on the sea.

Far off I saw His form, but knew it not;
He nearer drew, He smiled, my fears did flee;
His loving look dispelled a lingering doubt,
As He came to me o'er the twilight sea.

I dropped my burden on the shelving sand
So I might meet Him, if such bliss could be,
I reached the shore, I knelt and kissed His hand
With blissful tears beside the twilight sea.

Such love He woke, I would my life have lain
Low down to pave His way, "He loveth me
Who loveth this sad world, and blesseth man,"
Came blown to me across the twilight sea.

Perplexing questions died within my breast,
"Deep peace hath he who doeth lovingly
My will, who loveth most, he loveth best,"
Came blown to me across the twilight sea.

The storm was overpast, a breath of balm
Lapped the low waves, and lingered on the lea,
For in the twilight fell a holy calm,
He came unto me walking on the sea.

* * * * *

Was this a dream? If it were not a dream
My life is blest in truth, and if it be,
I know across the deep has fallen a gleam,
A bridge of glory spans the twilight sea.

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