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Poem by Henry Timrod
Lines to R. L.
That which we are and shall be is made up Of what we have been. On the autumn leaf The crimson stains bear witness of its spring; And, on its perfect nodes, the ocean shell Notches the slow, strange changes of its growth. Ourselves are our own records; if we looked Rightly into that blotted crimson page Within our bosoms, then there were no need To chronicle our stories; for the heart Hath, like the earth, its strata, and contains Its past within its present. Well for us, And our most cherished secrets, that within The round of being few there are who read Beneath the surface. Else our very forms, The merest gesture of our hands, might tell Much we would hide forever. Know you not Those eyes, in whose dark heaven I have gazed More curiously than on my favorite stars, Are deeper for such griefs as they have seen, And brighter for the fancies they have shrined, And sweeter for the loves which they have talked? Oh! that I had the power to read their smiles, Or sound the depth of all their glorious gloom. So should I learn your history from its birth, Through all its glad and grave experiences, Better than ifЧ(your journal in my hand, Written as only women write, with all A woman's shades and shapes of feeling, traced As with the fine touch of a needle's point)Ч I followed you from that bright hour when first I saw you in the garden 'mid the flowers, To that wherein a letter from your hand Made me all rich with the dear name of friend.
Henry Timrod's other poems:
English Poetry. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org