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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Flown Soul

By George Parsons Lathrop (1851–1898)

Francis Hawthorne Lathrop, 6 February, 1881.

COME not again! I dwell with you

Above the realm of frost and dew,

Of pain and fire, and growth to death.

I dwell with you where never breath

Is drawn, but fragrance vital flows

From life to life; even as a rose

Unseen pours sweetness through each vein,

And from the air distils again.

You are my rose unseen: we live

Where each to other joy may give

In ways untold, by means unknown

And secret as the magnet-stone.

For which of us, indeed, is dead?

No more I lean to kiss your head;—

The gold-red hair so thick upon it:

Joy feels no more the touch that won it,

When o’er my brow your pearl-cool palm

In tenderness so childish, calm,

Crept softly, once. Yet, see: my arm

Is strong, and still my blood runs warm:

I still can work and think, and weep.

But all this show of life I keep

Is but the shadow of your shine;

Flicker of your fire; husk of your vine:

Therefore you are not dead, nor I,

Who hear your laughter’s minstrelsy.

Among the stars your feet are set:

Your little feet are dancing yet

Their rhythmic beat, as when on earth.

So swift, so slight, are death and birth!

Come not again, dear child. If thou

By any chance couldst break that vow

Of silence, at thy last hour made;

If to this grim life, unafraid,

Thou couldst return, and melt the frost

Wherein thy bright limbs’ power was lost;

Still would I whisper—since so fair

The silent comradeship we share—

Yes, whisper ’mid the unbidden rain

Of tears: “Come not! Come not again!”