The Love of Loves

I have not seen her face, and yet
She is more sweet than any thing
Of Earth—than rose or violet
That Mayday winds and sunbeams bring.
Of all we know, past or to come,
That beauty holds within its net,
She is the high compendium:
And yet—

I have not touched her robe, and still
She is more dear than lyric words
And music; or than strains that fill
The throbbing throats of forest birds.
Of all we mean by poetry,
That rules the soul and charms the will,
She is the deep epitome:
And still—

She is my world; ah, pity me!
A dream that flies whom I pursue;
Whom all pursue, whoe'er they be,
Who toil for art and dare and do.
The shadow-love for whom they sigh,
The far ideal affinity,
For whom they live and gladly die—
Ah, me!

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