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A Woman's Love Letters

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A Dream. I stood far off above the haunts of menSomewhere, I know not, when the sky was dimFrom some worn glory, and the morning hymnOf the gay oriole echoed from the glen.Wandering, I felt earth's peace, nor knew I soughtA visioned face, a voice the wind had caught. I passed the waking things that stirred and gazed,Thought-bound, and heeded not; the waking flowersDrank in the morning mist, dawn's tender showers,And looked forth for the Day-god who had blazedHis heart away and died at sundown. FarIn the gray west faded a loitering star. It seemed that I had wandered through long years,A life of years, still seeking gropinglyA thing I dared not name; now I could seeIn the still dawn a hope, in the soft tearsOf the deep-hearted violets a breathOf kinship, like the herald voice of Death. Slow moved the morning; where the hill was bareWoke a reluctant breeze. Dimly I knewMy Day was come. The wind-blown blossoms threwTheir breath about me, and the pine-swept airGrew to a shape, a mighty, formless thing,A phantom of the wood's imagining. And as I gazed, spell-bound, it seemed to moveIts tendril limbs, still swaying tremulouslyAs if in spirit-doubt; then glad and freeCrystalled the being won from waiting groveInto a human likeness. There he stood,The vine-browed shape of Nature's mortal mood. "Now have I found thee, Vision I have soughtThese years, unknowing; surely thou art fairAnd inly wise, and on thy tasselled hairGlows Heaven's own light. Passion and fame are naughtTo thy clear eyes, O Prince of many lands,—Grant me thy joy," I cried, and stretched my hands. No answer but the flourish of the breezeThrough the black pines. Then, slowly, as the windParts the dense cloud-forms, leaving naught behindBut shapeless vapor, through the budding treesDrifted some force unseen, and from my sightFaded my god into the morning light. Again alone. With wistful, straining eyesI waited, and the sunshine flecked the bankHappy with arbutus and violets where I sankHearing, near by, a host of melodies,The rapture of the woodthrush; soft her moodThe love-mate, with such golden numbers woo'd. He ceased; the fresh moss-odors filled the groveWith a strange sweetness, the dark hemlock boughsMoved soft, as though they heard the brooklet rouseTo its spring soul, and whisper low of love.The white-robed birches stood unbendinglyLike royal maids, in proud expectancy. Athwart the ramage where the young leaves pressIt came to me, ah, call it what you willVision or waking dream, I see it still!Again a form born of the woodland stressGrew to my gaze, and by some secret signThough shadow-hid, I knew the form was thine. The glancing sunlight made thy ruddy hairA crown of gold, but on thy spirit-faceThere was no smile, only a tender graceOf love half doubt. Upon thy hand a rareWild bird of Paradise perched fearlesslyWith radiant plumage and still, lustrous eye. And as I gazed I saw what I had deemedA shadow near thy hand, a dusky wing,A bird like last year's leaves, so dull a thingBeside its fellow; as the sunshine gleamedEach breast showed letters bright as crystalled rain,The fair bird bore "Delight," the other "Pain." Then came thy voice: "O Love, wilt have my gift?"I stretched my glad hands eagerly to graspThe heaven-blown bird, gold-hued, and longed to claspIt close and know it mine....