An Ending




Oh dearest! the best I have ever written,
The best and most perfect of me,
All things good I have ever fashioned
Are yours and yours only, ...
The labour of the morning is yours—
The labour in silence, and alone and in trouble is yours.
The labour in darkness and the mind's frost is yours,
Yours and yours only

Have you forgotten—long ago in the fall of the autumn—
In the time of withered leaves and waking tempests,
In the face of a slowly dying year
How once—when the tide was running seaward
And night came to us softly over the flats
You put your lips to my forehead
And called me—Have you forgotten it—your poet?
Called me, miserable that I was, your poet
By virtue of the few weak rhymes I had written:—
Unrhyrned, and saying nothing

Could you guess how I was consecrate to your service,
By an oath I have never since broken,
By an oath—the only one of my old days, I have held to?
Could you guess in the after years how I was bound to you?—
Could you guess the purpose I set for myself,
The promises, whose first fruits are here for your taking?—
I think not.

Now that I have accomplished a little,
Very little truly, but still a little—
Made, painfully some, joyfully others, bitterly many,—
Made, as a boy makes them,—imperfect meaning to be perfect.
Failures many, but telling of what was intended,
They are yours and yours only—
By the power and the dominance that you have over me,
Yours and yours only.

By the trouble and pains we endured together,
By the council and the help, and the strength which you gave me,
By the influence of your soul over my soul,
By year long vigils watched out together
By the great tie that is between us
Yours and yours only.