A Retrospect by Adelaide Anne Procter

From this fair point of present bliss,
Where we together stand,
Let me look back once more, and trace
That long and desert land,
Wherein till now was cast my lot, and I could live, and thou wert not.

Strange that my heart could beat, and know
Alternate joy and pain,
That suns could roll from east to west,
And clouds could pass in rain,
And the slow hours without thee fleet, nor stay their noiseless silver feet.

What had I then? a hope, that grew
Each hour more bright and dear,
The flush upon the eastern skies
That showed the sun was near:-
Now night has faded far away, my sun has risen, and it is day.

A dim Ideal of tender grace
In my soul reigned supreme;
Too noble and too sweet I thought
To live, save in a dream–
Within thy heart to-day it lies, and looks on me from thy dear eyes.

Some gentle spirit–Love I thought–
Built many a shrine of pain;
Though each false Idol fell to dust,
The worship was not vain,
But a faint radiant shadow cast back from our Love upon the Past.

And Grief, too, held her vigil there;
With unrelenting sway
Breaking my cloudy visions down,
Throwing my flowers away:-
I owe to her fond care alone that I may now be all thine own.

Fair Joy was there–her fluttering wings
At times she strove to raise;
Watching through long and patient nights,
Listening long eager days:
I know now that her heart and mine were waiting, Love, to welcome thine.

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Thus I can read thy name throughout,
And, now her task is done,
Can see that even that faded Past
Was thine, beloved one,
And so rejoice my Life may be all consecrated, dear, to thee.

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