Thy voice, as tender as the light
That shivers low at eve –
Thy hair, where myriad flashes bright
Do in and outward weave –
Thy charms in their diversity
Half frighten and astonish me.
Thine eyes, that hold a mirth subdued
Like deep pools scattering fire –
Mine dare not meet them in their mood,
For fear of my desire,
Lest thou that secret do descry
Which evermore I must deny.
Hard is the world that does not give
To every love a place;
Hard is the power that bids us live
A life bereft of grace –
Hard, hard to lose thy figure, dear,
My star and my religion here!
Text: To a Friend, James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
Image: photographer, sitters, unknown,
Daguerreotype circa 1850, via The Metropolitan Museum of Art