A moment face to face they stood,
While soul met soul in honest eyes
That trembling glowed through unshed tears,
Born of a love that never dies.
They met to speak the saddest word
That e'er on human lips can dwell:
But, O, the mockery to dream
That such as these could take farewell!
For as two roseate clouds unite,
In wake of the departed sun,
Their kindred essence pure and sweet,
These twain had softly merged in one.
They might be severed pole from pole,
Might live through all the years apart;
What mattered time and space to them
Whose home was in each other's heart?
He craved a tress of that fine gold
Whose wavy wreaths her forehead graced;
Bending to grant the boon, he clasped
A zone of pearl about her waist.
A moment more, and he was gone
From sight, nought else. High heart and mind,
Stronghold of tenderness and truth,
Defied the hour, and stayed behind!
The seasons rolled, and ne'er again
Thus face to face 'twas theirs to stand;
Yet heart to heart they walked the world
On to the goal, the silent land.
O gift of gifts! a noble soul
That wraps our own in full embrace,
Till all mean things in love's great sea
Are lost, and self hath no more place.