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The Need to Love

by
 The need to love that all the stars obey
Entered my heart and banished all beside.
Bare were the gardens where I used to stray; Faded the flowers that one time satisfied.
Before the beauty of the west on fire, The moonlit hills from cloister-casements viewed Cloud-like arose the image of desire, And cast out peace and maddened solitude.
I sought the City and the hopes it held: With smoke and brooding vapors intercurled, As the thick roofs and walls close-paralleled Shut out the fair horizons of the world--- A truant from the fields and rustic joy, In my changed thought that image even so Shut out the gods I worshipped as a boy And all the pure delights I used to know.
Often the veil has trembled at some tide Of lovely reminiscence and revealed How much of beauty Nature holds beside Sweet lips that sacrifice and arms that yield: Clouds, window-framed, beyond the huddled eaves When summer cumulates their golden chains, Or from the parks the smell of burning leaves, Fragrant of childhood in the country lanes, An organ-grinder's melancholy tune In rainy streets, or from an attic sill The blue skies of a windy afternoon Where our kites climbed once from some grassy hill: And my soul once more would be wrapped entire In the pure peace and blessing of those years.
Before the fierce infection of Desire Had ravaged all the flesh.
Through starting tears Shone that lost Paradise; but, if it did, Again ere long the prison-shades would fall That Youth condemns itself to walk amid, So narrow, but so beautiful withal.
And I have followed Fame with less devotion, And kept no real ambition but to see Rise from the foam of Nature's sunlit ocean My dream of palpable divinity; And aught the world contends for to mine eye Seemed not so real a meaning of success As only once to clasp before I die My vision of embodied happiness.

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