There was a Power in this sweet place, An Eve in this Eden; a ruling Grace Which to the flowers, did they waken or dream, Was as God is to the starry scheme.
A Lady, the wonder of her kind, Whose form was upborne by a lovely mind Which, dilating, had moulded her mien and motion Like a sea-flower unfolded beneath the ocean,
Tended the garden from morn to even: And the meteors of that sublunar Heaven, Like the lamps of the air when Night walks forth, Laughed round her footsteps up from the Earth!
She had no companion of mortal race, But her tremulous breath and her flushing face Told, whilst the morn kissed the sleep from her eyes, That her dreams were less slumber than Paradise:
As if some bright Spirit for her sweet sake Had deserted Heaven while the stars were awake, As if yet around her he lingering were, Though the veil of daylight concealed him from her.
Her step seemed to pity the grass it pressed; You might hear by the heaving of her breast, That the coming and going of the wind Brought pleasure there and left passion behind.
And wherever her aery footstep trod, Her trailing hair from the grassy sod Erased its light vestige, with shadowy sweep, Like a sunny storm o'er the dark green deep.
I doubt not the flowers of that garden sweet Rejoiced in the sound of her gentle feet; I doubt not they felt the spirit that came From her glowing fingers through all their frame.
She sprinkled bright water from the stream On those that were faint with the sunny beam; And out of the cups of the heavy flowers She emptied the rain of the thunder-showers.
She lifted their heads with her tender hands, And sustained them with rods and osier-bands; If the flowers had been her own infants, she Could never have nursed them more tenderly.
And all killing insects and gnawing worms, And things of obscene and unlovely forms, She bore, in a basket of Indian woof, Into the rough woods far aloof,-
In a basket, of grasses and wild-flowers full, The freshest her gentle hands could pull For the poor banished insects, whose intent, Although they did ill, was innocent.
But the bee and the beamlike ephemeris Whose path is the lightning's, and soft moths that kiss The sweet lips of the flowers, and harm not, did she Make her attendant angels be.
And many an antenatal tomb, Where butterflies dream of the life to come, She left clinging round the smooth and dark Edge of the odorous cedar bark.
This fairest creature from earliest Spring Thus moved through the garden ministering Mi the sweet season of Summertide, And ere the first leaf looked brown-she died!
NOTES: _15 morn Harvard manuscript, 1839; moon 1820. _23 and going 1820; and the going Harvard manuscript, 1839. _59 All 1820, 1839; Through all Harvard manuscript.