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The Three That Shall Be One

BY JAMES THOMSON

LOVE on the earth alit,
Come to be Lord of it;
Looked round and laughed with glee,
Noble my empery!
Straight ere that laugh was done
Sprang forth the royal sun,
Pouring out golden shine
Over the realm divine.

Came then a lovely may,
Dazzling the new-born day,
Wreathing her golden hair
With the red roses there,
Laughing with sunny eyes
Up to the sunny skies,
Moving so light and free
To her own minstrelsy.

Love with swift rapture cried,
Dear Life, thou art my bride!
Whereto, with fearless pride,
Dear Love, indeed thy bride!
All the earth’s fruit and flowers,
All the world’s wealth are ours;
Sun, moon, and stars gem
Our marriage diadem.

So they together fare,
Lovely and joyous pair;
So hand in hand they roam
All through their Eden home;
Each to the other’s sight
An ever-new delight:
Blue heaven and blooming earth
Joy in their darlings’ mirth.

Who comes to meet them now,—
She with the pallid brow,
Wreathing her night-dark hair
With the red poppies there,
Pouring from solemn eyes
Gloom through the sunny skies,
Moving so silently
In her deep reverie?

Life paled as she drew near,
Love shook with doubt and fear.
Ah, then, she said, in truth
(Eyes full of yearning ruth),
Love, thou would’st have this Life,
Fair may! to be thy wife?
Yet at an awful shrine
Wert thou not plighted mine?

Pale, paler poor Life grew;
Love murmured, It is true!
How could I thee forsake?
From the brief dream I wake.
Yet, O belovèd Death,
See how she suffereth;
Ere we from earth depart
Soothe her, thou tender heart!

Faint on the ground she lay;
Love kissed the swoon away;
Death then bent over her,
Death the sweet comforter!
Whispered with tearful smile,
Wait but a little while,
Then I will come for thee;
We are one family.

1863

 

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