To: E.M. II.
Dear friend, you love the poet’s song,
And here is one for your regard.
You know the “melancholy bard,”
Whose grief is wise as well as strong;
Already something understand
For whom he mourns and what he sings,
And how he wakes with golden strings
The echoes of “the silent land;”
How, restless, faint, and worn with grief,
Yet loving all and hoping all,
He gazes where the shadows fall,
And finds in darkness some relief;
And how he sends his cries across,
His cries for him that comes no more,
Till one might think that silent shore
Full of the burden of his loss;
And how there comes sublimer cheer—
Not darkness solacing sad eyes,
Not the wild joy of mournful cries,
But light that makes his spirit clear;
How, while he gazes, something high,
Something of Heaven has fallen on him,
His distance and his future dim
Broken into a dawning sky!
Something of this, dear friend, you know;
And will you take the book from me
That holds this mournful melody,
And softens grief to sadness so?
Perhaps it scarcely suits the day
Of joyful hopes and memories clear,
When love should have no thought of fear,
And only smiles be round your way;
Yet from the mystery and the gloom,
From tempted faith and conquering trust,
From spirit stronger than the dust,
And love that looks beyond the tomb,
What can there be but good to win,
But hope for life, but love for all,
But strength whatever may befall?—
So for the year that you begin,
For all the years that follow this
While a long happy life endures,
This hope, this love, this strength be yours,
And afterwards a larger bliss!
May nothing in this mournful song
Too much take off your thoughts from time,
For joy should fill your vernal prime,
And peace your summer mild and long.
And may his love who can restore
All losses, give all new good things,
Like loving eyes and sheltering wings
Be round us all for evermore!