When in the womb of Time our souls' own son
Dear Love lay sleeping till his natal hour,
Long months I knew not that sweet life begun,
Too dimly treasuring thy touch of power;
And wandering all those days
By far-off ways,
Forgot immortal seed must have immortal flower.
Only, beloved, since my beloved thou art
I do remember, now that memory's vain,
How twice or thrice beneath my beating heart
Life quickened suddenly with proudest pain.
Then dreamed I Love's increase,
Yet held my peace
Till I might render thee thy own great gift again.
For as with bodies, so with souls it is,
The greater gives, the lesser doth conceive:
That thou hast fathered Love, I tell thee this,
And by my pangs beseech thee to believe.
Look on his hope divine--
Thy hope and mine--
Pity his outstretched hands, tenderly him receive!