HOW fair you are, wondrous maiden,
As from the aisle I behold you
In the old English cathedral,
Standing so rapt and apart!
Glintings of gold from the stained glass
Brighten the coils of your dark hair
Waving away from a forehead
Pure with the freshness of youth,
And your face flower-like lifted,
With the blue eyes full of worship,
Fairer you seem than the angels
Carved near the altar, in stone.
What though I know not your name, dear,—
Though I to-day first behold you—
You who must pass as a vision
Nobly enthralling and glad?
Does he who, lone in the forest,
Finds there an exquisite blossom,
Joy in it less that its beauty
Blooms not to fade on his breast?
Nay: nor does one who at nightfall
Harkens the voice of the mavis
Feel less delight that the singer
Blesses him, high out of reach.
So, though you pass—and for ever,
Yet I, afar, shall remember
That the world holds such a maiden,
And, you remembering, love!