42. TAMERLANE (continued)
My passions, from that hapless hour,
Usurp'd a tyranny which men
Have deem'd, since I have reach'd to power;
My innate nature - be it so:
But, father, there liv'd one who, then,
Then - in my boyhood - when their fire
Burn'd with a still intenser glow,
(For passion must, with youth, expire)
E'en then who knew this iron heart
In woman's weakness had a part.
I have no words - alas! - to tell
The loveliness of loving well!
Nor would I now attempt to trace
The more than beauty of a face
Whose lineaments, upon my mind,
Are -- shadows on th' unstable wind:
Thus I remember having dwelt
Some page of early lore upon,
With loitering eye, till I have felt
The letters - with their meaning - melt
To fantasies - with none.
O, she was worthy of all love!
Love - as in infancy was mine -
'Twas such as angel minds above
Might envy; her young heart the shrine
On which my ev'ry hope and thought
Were incense - then a goodly gift,
For they were childish - and upright -
Pure -- as her young example taught:
Why did I leave it, and, adrift,
Trust to the fire within, for light?
We grew in age - and love - together,
Roaming the forest, and the wild;
My breast her shield in wintry weather -
And, when the friendly sunshine smil'd,
And she would mark the opening skies,
I saw no Heaven - but in her eyes.
Young Love's first lesson is -- the heart:
For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles,
When, from our little cares apart,
And laughing at her girlish wiles,
I'd throw me on her throbbing breast,
And pour my spirit out in tears -
There was no need to speak the rest -
No need to quiet any fears
Of her - who ask'd no reason why,
But turn'd on me her quiet eye!
Yet more than worthy of the love
My spirit struggled with, and strove,
When, on the mountain peak, alone,
Ambition lent it a new tone -
I had no being - but in thee:
The world, and all it did contain
In the earth - the air - the sea -
Its joy - its little lot of pain
That was new pleasure -- the ideal,
Dim, vanities of dreams by night -
And dimmer nothings which were real -
(Shadows - and a more shadowy light!)
Parted upon their misty wings,
And, so, confusedly, became
Thine image, and - a name - a name!
Two separate - yet most intimate things.