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Fond longings dimly understood,
The glow of passion's quickening blood,
And cherished fantasies which press
The young lip with a dream's caress, –
The heart's forecast and prophecy
Took form and life before my eye,
Seen in the glance which met my own,
Heard in the soft and pleading tone,
Felt in the arms around me cast,
And warm heart-pulses beating fast.
Ah ! scarcely yet to God above
With deeper trust, with stronger love
Has prayerful saint his meek heart lent,
Or cloistered nun at twilight bent,
Than I, before a human shrine,
As mortal and as frail as mine,
With heart, and soul, and mind, and form,
Knelt madly to a fellow worm.

“ Full soon, upon that dream of sin,
An awful light came bursting in.
The shrine was cold, at which I knelt ;

The idol of that shrine was gone ;
A humbled thing of shame and guilt,

Outcast, and spurned and lone, Wrapt in the shadows of my crime,

With withering heart and burning brain,

And tears that fell like fiery rain, I passed a fearful time.

“ There came a voice — it checked the tear

In heart and soul it wrought a change ; My father's voice was in my ear;

It whispered of revenge !
A new and fiercer feeling swept

All lingering tenderness away ;
And tiger passions, which had slept

In childhood's better day,
Unknown, unfelt, arose at length
In all their own demoniac strength.

“A youthful warrior of the wild,
By words deceived, by smiles beguiled,
Of crime the cheated instrument,
Upon our fatal errands went.

Through camp and town and wilderness
He tracked his victim ; and, at last,
Just when the tide of hate had passed,
And milder thoughts came warm and fast,
Exulting, at my feet he cast

The bloody token of success.

“Oh God! with what an awful power

I saw the buried past uprise,
And gather, in a single hour,

Its ghost-like memories !
And then I felt — alas ! too late —
That underneath the mask of hate,
That shame and guilt and wrong had thrown
O’er feelings which they might not own,

The heart's wild love had known no change ;
And still, that deep and hidden love,
With its first fondness, wept above

The victim of its own revenge !
There lay the fearful scalp, and there
The blood was on its pale brown hair !
I thought not of the victim's scorn,

I thought not of his baleful guile,
My deadly wrong, my outcast name,
The characters of sin and shame
On heart and forehead drawn ;

I only saw that victim's smile —
The still, green places where we met —
The moon-lit branches, dewy wet ;
I only felt, I only heard
The greeting and the parting word —
The smile — the embrace — the tone, which made
An Eden of the forest shade.

“ And oh, with what a loathing eye,

With what a deadly hate, and deep,

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“ And oh, with what a loathing eye,

With what a deadly hate, and deep,

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