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James Russell Lowell (Джеймс Расселл Лоуэлл)

Love's Altar


    I built an altar in my soul,
  I builded it to one alone;
  And ever silently I stole,
  In happy days of long-agone,
  To make rich offerings to that ONE.


   'Twas garlanded with purest thought,
  And crowned with fancy's flowers bright,
  With choicest gems 'twas all inwrought
  Of truth and feeling; in my sight
  It seemed a spot of cloudless light.


    Yet when I made my offering there,
  Like Cain's, the incense would not rise;
  Back on my heart down-sank the prayer,
  And altar-stone and sacrifice
  Grew hateful in my tear-dimmed eyes.


    O'er-grown with age's mosses green,
  The little altar firmly stands;
  It is not, as it once hath been,
  A selfish shrine;--these time-taught hands
  Bring incense now from many lands.


    Knowledge doth only widen love;
  The stream, that lone and narrow rose,
  Doth, deepening ever, onward move,
  And with an even current flows
  Calmer and calmer to the close.


    The love, that in those early days
  Girt round my spirit like a wall,
  Hath faded like a morning haze,
  And flames, unpent by self's mean thrall,
  Rise clearly to the perfect ALL.

James Russell Lowell's other poems:
  1. The Lost Child
  2. The Lover
  3. “Goe, Little Booke!“
  4. Song (O! I must look on that sweet face once more before I die)
  5. The Unlovely

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