Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
By Coventry Patmore (1823–1896)
I WATCHED her face, suspecting germs
  Of love: her farewell showed me plain
She loved, on the majestic terms
  That she should not be loved again.
She was all mildness; yet t’was writ        5
  Upon her beauty legibly,
“He that’s for heaven itself unfit,
  Let him not hope to merit me.”
*        *        *        *        *
And though her charms are a strong law
  Compelling all men to admire,        10
They are so clad with lovely awe,
  None but the noble dares desire.
He who would seek to make her his,
  Will comprehend that souls of grace
Own sweet repulsion, and that ’tis        15
  The quality of their embrace
To be like the majestic reach
  Of coupled suns, that, from afar,
Mingle their mutual spheres, while each
  Circles the twin obsequious star:        20
And in the warmth of hand to hand,
  Of heart to heart, he’ll vow to note
And reverently understand
  How the two spirits shine remote;
And ne’er to numb fine honor’s nerve,        25
  Nor let sweet awe in passion melt,
Nor fail by courtesies to observe
  The space which makes attraction felt;
Nor cease to guard like life the sense
  Which tells him that the embrace of love        30
Is o’er a gulf of difference
  Love cannot sound, nor death remove.

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