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life, events however trivial obtained in my fancy an incommensurate and ideal importance, and words light as air came back upon me with an oracular reverberation. If she said ' we', it was enough. Once when at the closing dance of a ball I, carrying her off from many rivals, led Désirée hand in hand, we two' in Homer's hearty phrase "going
together' through the final arch of interwoven arms, final, for the music then ceased ;-I thought I had waged a just war', that a thanksgiving and triumph had been
I could have summoned lictors and chariot to convoy me along the Sacred Way, I could have cried to the Pontifex, Crown me in the Capitol.
After many years I can recall that evening yet,
Le perle, e le ghirlande, e i panni allegri,
I see the glitter and the glow of the scene, the undulation and bridal brightness of the dancers; a vague vision of Désirée. But there is this misery in affection, that whom we truly love like ourselves, we forget their looks, nor can our memory retain the idea of their countenances': a cloud hangs there, and I may not see her : the cloud that gathers over faces too dearly loved, and gazed on too much ; lost too utterly, and mourned for too despairingly ... Thus I cannot dwell here on the fairness of that outward temple, so truly answerable to its dear and immortal inhabitant, the countenance that spoke her passions with such eloquent blood', that I often thought the community more than commonly complete in Désirée between Spirit and Body:
It seem'd a through-light scarf her mind t'enroll,
- I have indeed described both in one, if at all successful in my description.
XIII If the triumph just recorded appears trivial, not so the fear of which that exultation as it were was the counterpart. Nothing on earth is so great, says a Master, as the reverence inspired by love. Such was that Fear in its first and highest essence ; arising from no puerile comparison of myself with Désirée, not from any terrors of possible rivalry, but only, and no meaner idea intervening, from knowledge what she was, from her own dear self and exceeding preciousness. The first time I ventured in my journal, after a day marked there as holy to remembrance and to which memory is only too faithful, to accompany her name with the word dear', it is written tremulously: it was as if she heard me: the silent act seemed a startling confession-one step to realizing a hope which, with evenly balanced energy, alarmed and allured me the more,
the more I began to comprehend the meaning and contemplate the possibility of its realization. O with what heart-silencing awe, what tumultuous exultation along the blood, was that first mental union of the syllables Wife and Désirée ! No longer with the shouts of boyhood, nor in foreign regions, by the sands of Bayonne and Sorrento, the rocks of Arona and Meillerie, but I could now only whisper the sorrise parolette brevi’ and to the English sea, answering with an innumerable low laughter of shoreward waves, and carrying the holy secret to Désirée as it kissed the garden terrace beneath her feet with murmurs of confession. Deeper henceforward was the colour, wider the range of passion : like the final conception of perfect method in philosophy, it identified opposites into a higher truth,became more Actual at once and more Ideal : holier, and
homelier. I could look at the Desired no longer with that first love
That had no need of a remoter charm
Unborrowed from the eye : —but with present resolve, and eager earnest anticipation ; with the longings for settled peace; with the hope for blessings which, obtained, would, I knew, be beyond any hope. "A voice called to me from the years to come ':-I recognized that this young playmate must be the one aim of life, my all in all, and the conditions of the struggle death or victory: I looked on the bright face with honour and reverence unspeakable : I saw the angel in the child, until often I could look no longer. . . . Then, leaving
Désirée, I repeated aloud the deeply-felt Spanish motto - Ahora y siempre, or a text written on every page of the
calendar which records the great festivals of the heart • In quietness and confidence shall be thy strength'. Or sometimes, going to the grey village church, where in one window the family crest of some ancient benefactor was emblazoned, with anxious eyes I read and read again the legend written beneath. This was, PACEM ORO : 1444:whose device I have never known, but his prayer has been long accomplished.
XIV Had it held no other elements than a great Hope and a great Reverence, this Fear would have been truly consistent with a perfect, a consummated affection. But throughout these six years (to the latter portion of which I now pass), no meeting went by without another sense of fear : without increase in that exigency for confession, first, as I have noticed, definitely felt whilst I was beneath one roof with Désirée at the Tesoretto'. At the close
of days passed as so many now were within some seaside familiar Eden, or the house which had been my second home since childhood, long days, and each day pure happiness, often I asked myself, Was it right to let the
creeping hours' go by in this unremitted reserve ? Should I not have trusted passion to words ? An old friend once, no doubt seeing my fondness, praised her warmly to me. For an instant it seemed desirable to confess, to ask her counsel; but I answered nothing to the purpose, satisfied with this thought alone-Guilty of what other ever follies, here at least I had secured the one great acknowledged blessing. A natural reluctance had restrained me from divulging to others, even dearest friends, a hope so tender and so vital to life that the voice within the heart hardly dared utter it; and although aware that others could not but know something, proud at times to know they knew it, yet by force of my own silence the secret seemed still my own. How should I discover the truth ? [ We may see through coquetry and dissimulation : a warm, straightforward heart is inscrutable. I watched every indication with the peculiar blindness and lucid insight of passionate devotion : I inquired anxiously whether the long familiarity which permitted such open intercourse, such equal and unrestrained exchange of friendship, might not have rendered Désirée unconscious what she was to him she met always with that unswerving sisterly affection. And in truth, the more secure I felt of this great blessing, the more I feared the bare chance of losing all, or to take my fate into my own hasty handsthe more trusted to God that sweet silent growth of love, sure to shape some perfect end, so Reason, Experience, and Faith assured me, in due season. · Away with curious forequestioning,- what will be, will be',
το προκλύειν, επεί γένοιτ' άν ήλυσις, προχαιρέτω.
Was it indeed cowardice to wait thus, or that larger courage to which the acts of premature daring themselves appear but another cowardice disguised ? Time taught me a deep answer ; reserve was right; the dear one unconscious ;
the end would have been alike. Every hour of delay, )
though I knew it not, was saved from the eternal
XV Strong in this quietness and confidence in the great hope of life, when at the third summer's conclusion I returned to the University, unexpected war springing up suddenly within my heart, with distrust and alarm, shook much I had hitherto peaceably and unwaveringly confided in. This, which as the first mental revolution, surprized and terrified me then, I look at now of course without wonder. A single law of central agency may control the
. ebb and flow, but there is not one tide only in the affairs of men ; most, I should imagine, can or could point out several crises, more or less decisive of the direction their inner life has taken. Such changes are matter not for regret, acquiescence, or triumph, but for earnest reflection. Inevitable in themselves, and when accomplished, eversive often apparently of the entire life preceding, they are in truth moments only in our existence;— like the vast telluric revolutions of nature, from afar and secretly prepared by a thousand causes, outward and internal:-position in space, intersection of our orbit by other planets, enfeebled heat in heaven, more forcible gravitation sunwards, by central fires, glacial action, prolonged repose; by that Will, lastly, which is without such analogy as I have indicated to the organic forces of the universe, moulding the microcosm, Man. They pass, and we perhaps find