Letter XXXIII (with two unpublished poems).

From: Love-Letters of Margaret Fuller, 1845-1846
Published: 1903 New York


I have copied out the poem and hope there are no words miswrit, but cannot read it over. Do not smile at all, Liebster. I am a little afraid of your smiles, and it is only in the deepest recess of our mutual life I could have shown it you, for to me it is prophecy.

Poem, hitherto unpublished


Afternoon in the dell, where was
A broken fall and many-voiced,
With evergreens and red and golden trees
At varying elevations grouped around,
Its basin hid and cool and circular
On which the leaves rested as dreamily,
As if the stream could never wake again;
The mountains towered around, purple and rose;
The sun, still climbing, vainly sought to peer
Into that still recess.

My soul sank there
A prayer that Intellect with its broad light
Will ne’er reveal, nor even clearly know,
But Nature holds it to her secret heart.

Evening moonlight.
Oft, from the shadow of my earthly sphere,
I looked to thee, orb of pale pearly light,
To lose the weariness of doubt and fear
In thy soft mother-smile so pensive bright.
Thou seemedst far and safe and chastely living,
Graceful and thoughtful, loving, beauty-giving;
But, if I steadfast gaze upon thy face,
A human secret, like our own I trace,
For, through the woman’s smile looks the male eye
So mildly, steadfastly, but mournfully.
He holds the bush to point us to his cave,
Teaching anew the truth so bright, so grave:
Escape not from the riddle of the earth.
Through mortal pangs to win immortal birth,
Both men and woman from the natural womb
Must slowly win the secrets of the tomb,
And then, together rising, fragrant, clear,
Be worthy angels of a better sphere.
Diana’s beauty shows what Hecate wrought,
Apollo’s lustre rays the Zodiac thought,
In Leo regal, as in Virgo pure,
As Scorpio secret, as the Archer sure.
In unpolluted beauty mutual shine
Earth, Moon and Sun, the human thought divine,
For Earth is purged by tameless central fire,
And Moon in man has told her hid desire,
And Time has found himself eternal Sire
And the Sun sings all on his ray-strung lyre.

Steady bear me on,
Counting life’s pulses all alone,
Till all is felt and known and done.
Thus far have I conquered fate.
I have learned to wait,
Nor in these early days snatch at the fruits of late.
The man from the moon
Looks not for an instant noon,
But from its secret heart
Slow evolves the art
Of that full consummation needed part.

For thee, my Apollo,
The girdle I weave,
From whose splendid hollow
Thy young breast shall its impulse receive.
I am the mother of thy spirit life,
And so in law thy wife;
And thou art my sire,
For all this treasured fire
Learns from thee
Its destiny,
And our full mutual birth
Must free this Earth.
From our union shall spring
The promised king
Who, with white sail unfurled
Shall steer through heavens of Soul an unpolluted world.

In that world.
Earth’s tale shall be
A valued page.
Of poesy.
As Grecian bards
Knew how to praise
The kingly woes
Of darker days,
And Tantalus, soaring where the mist is overblown,
Meets on his hard-won throne a Juno of his own.

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