Poems (Coates 1916)/Volume II/Retrospect

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For works with similar titles, see Retrospect.
For other versions of this work, see Retrospect (Coates).


HOW had it been, my belovèd,
Had Fate united us sooner,—
In the bright days when our hearts
First dreamed of loving?—

When, a thrice exquisite vision,
Hope, all her lute-strings unbroken,
Smilingly beckoned us on,
Wooed us to follow?—

When our youth, eager, expectant,—
Trusting the north as the south wind,
Hardly, its pulses a-throb,
Staid life's unfolding?

Had I been more to you, dearer,
Bearing my myrtle and roses,
Than, as I came, crowned with rue,
Weighted with sorrow,

Seeing both light and its shadow,
Taught both of truth and illusion,
Knowing earth's rapture and pain,
Sharing earth's travail?

More had I been to you—dearer?...
Deep in my heart a voice answers,
Healing the sense of unworth,
Whispering comfort:—

"Love takes no counsel of prudence;
Wherefore men, timid and doubting,
Marvelling oft at his choice,
Charge him with blindness;

"But—this believe!—not Apollo,
Clothed in his glory celestial,
Bears such a light in his breast
As that which Eros

"Holds in the heart of his darkness,
Guards as a torch never failing,
Given to guide him where waits
His sole desire!"