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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
A Dedication—To My Beloved Wife
By Henry Mills Alden (1836–1919)
From ‘A Study of Death’

MY earliest written expression of intimate thought or cherished fancy was for your eyes only; it was my first approach to your maidenly heart, a mystical wooing, which neglected no resource, near or remote, for the enhancement of its charm, and so involved all other mystery in its own.  1
  In you, childhood has been inviolate, never losing its power of leading me by an unspoken invocation to a green field, ever kept fresh by a living fountain, where the Shepherd tends his flock. Now, through a body racked with pain, and sadly broken, still shines this unbroken childhood, teaching me Love’s deepest mystery.  2
  It is fitting, then, that I should dedicate to you this book touching that mystery. It has been written in the shadow, but illumined by the brightness of an angel’s face seen in the darkness, so that it has seemed easy and natural for me to find at the thorn’s heart a secret and everlasting sweetness far surpassing that of the rose itself, which ceases in its own perfection.  3
  Whether that angel we have seen shall, for my need and comfort, and for your own longing, hold back his greatest gift, and leave you mine in the earthly ways we know and love, or shall hasten to make the heavenly surprise, the issue in either event will be a home-coming; if here, yet already the deeper secret will have been in part disclosed; and if beyond, that secret, fully known, will not betray the fondest hope of loving hearts. Love never denied Death, and Death will not deny Love.  4

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