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Or any sense, the song which rang through

heaven— A sweeter song than that which celebrates A sinner's penitence—when our two souls Knelt down together in our Father's house, To which his call had brought us, and received His infinite sanction? Did He not require And charge us both, as we would not be shamed In our own day of judgment, to confess If there were any just impediment To keep our souls asunder? Did He not Then join our hands, and call us only one? O mother, you did hear it ! for I saw, When oft you looked at us, your eyes all filled With tears which are the outward witnesses Of the soul's recent sojourn, on its day Of rest, among the glories of that world In which our love is known, and looked upon As something to assure us, when we come To enter it more fully, of a right


To stand far nearer to the central Throne
Than many whom this world has glorified
With sainted names and crowns of martyrdom.
You heard that song, and therefore you will hear
With less misgiving than would all beside,
That in the strength of this our inward troth
We have discarded all external form,
Which may be useful for the world that is,
But which to us, who grasp the world to come,
Were but a mockery and base denial
Of what we know, and what we have confessed
To be the sole foundation of our love.

This, then, explains our secrecy. I fain

Had told you of our marriage ere it came

To be a thing not spoken of, but done;

But feared lest in that strained perplexity

Which just as often comes before an act

As after action it is smoothed away,

Some pain which was not needed might be brought To you, to Gertrude, most of all to him

Whom I must guard from self-accusing thoughts

By strong persistence; which persistence might

Have seemed to you undutiful, while yet

I had not proved, by adding deed to thought,

My faith which now will strengthen you to bear •

Attacks of doubt, or whispers from the world.

Not that I fear the latter; for your sake

We have proclaimed our marriage openly

As if it were but one among the crowd

Of so-called marriages, which are, in truth,

Mere mockeries of the ordinance of God;

Mere mockeries, in that so constantly

They serve to cover greed of rank by men

Or wealth by women,—wealth for which they sell

Their souls and bodies, doubling the disgrace

That follows women whom the world agrees

To hold condemned. This, mother, have we done

Against my first intention; yet the thought

That you thereby may certainly be saved

Some pain for me, who rather, as you know,
For you would suffer torments, makes me less
Opposed to what would else appear an act
Of faithlessness, that could not fail to bring
An overwhelming vengeance.

I am not
In mood to write much further; we shall go,
Sped by your blessing, mother, to the south
Of Europe, (where, I know not yet,) and thence
Onward to Rome; but you shall hear in time.
I feel your blessing round me; if your doubt
At times should lead you faintly to despond,
Read then this letter,—think what I have been,—
Your own loved daughter, pure in God's own sight,
And seeking still to purify myself
By that communion which the soul alone
That much has tried it, estimates aright.

Kiss Gertrude for me, mother,—tell her all;
I know that she will trust her Eucharis.

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San Remo: Oct. 2, 18-2. Shame, say you, sister, shame? O would that I Felt half the shame for what you glory in As you for my transgression! Yet not this Shall now possess me; I would fain be kind Even to you, who, most unwittingly, (For are you not my sister ?) have been doomed To wound me deeper than all blame could wound From other lips. 'Tis not the name you give To my adventure,—let me call it so,— For I was well forewarned that all the world Would thus regard it wrongly,—no, not this; But these imputed motives !—Tell me now What in the old times have you seen in me,—

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