Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A LETTER, by CONSTANCE CAROLINE WOODHILL NADEN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A LETTER, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Only a woman's letter, brown with age
Last Line: Let us rejoice, while yet the sun doth shine.
Subject(s): Letters; Women

ONLY a woman's letter, brown with age,
Yet breathing deathless love, too strong and deep
E'er to be told, save by the written page,
That cannot blush, or hesitate, or weep:
Only a letter, treasured by the dead;
Voiceful, yet ever powerless to impart
Its hidden melodies to any heart
Alien from hers who wrote, from his who read;
Save as a lute long silent, waked at last
By heedless fingers, or by winds that thrill
The chords untuned, may feebly murmur still
Some love-sweet echoes from the tuneful past.

Take my one treasure: take, and ever keep
My whole heart's love: nor shall the gift be vain,
Although it cannot bring you rest from pain,
Nor glad forgetfulness, nor tranquil sleep.

Oh, that my power were boundless as my love!
Then would I give to him I hold so dear
Joys faintly dreamt by many an ancient seer,
Chanting sweet fables of the heavens above.

"Alas," I thought, "such dreams are all too bright,
Too poor am I, of god-like gifts to sing;"
But you have said that even these I bring;
You tell me, that to raptured touch and sight,
I seem the essence of ethereal Spring,
The incarnation of perfume and light.
Wherefore I will not grieve, but gladly twine
Amid your mellow fruit my virgin flowers:
All have their time for love, and this is ours;
Let us rejoice, while yet the sun doth shine.

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