Julia Caroline (Ripley) Dorr

(1825-1913 / the United States)

Outgrown - Poem by Julia Caroline (Ripley) Dorr

Nay, you wrong her my friend, she's not fickle; her love she has simply outgrown:
One can read the whole matter, translating her heart by the light of one's own.

Can you bear me to talk with you frankly? There is much that my heart would say;
And you know we were children together, have quarrelled and 'made up' in play.

And so, for the sake of old friendship, I venture to tell you the truth,-
As plainly, perhaps, and as bluntly, as I might in our earlier youth.

Five summers ago, when you wooed her, you stood on the self-same plane,
Face to face, heart to heart, never dreaming your souls could be parted again.

She loved you at that time entirely, in the bloom of her life's early May;
And it is not her fault, I repeat it, that she does not love you to-day.

Nature never stands still, nor souls either; they ever go up or go down;
And hers has been steadily soaring - but how has it been with your own?

She has struggled and yearned and aspired, grown purer and wiser each year:
The stars are not farther above you in yon luminous atmosphere!

For she whom you crowned with fresh roses, down yonder, five summer ago,
Has learned that the first of our duties to God and ourselves is to grow.

Her eyes they are sweeter and calmer; but their vision is clearer as well:
Her voice has a tenderer cadence, but is pure as a silver bell.

Her face has the look worn by those who with God and his angels have talked:
The white robes she wears are less white than the spirits with whom she has walked.

And you? Have you aimed at the highest? Have you, too, aspired and prayed?
Have you looked upon evil unsullied? Have you conquered it undismayed?

Have you, too, grown purer and wiser, as the months and the years have rolled on?
Did you meet her this morning rejoicing in the triumph of victory won?

Nay, hear me! The truth cannot harm you. When to-day in her presence you stood,
Was the hand that you gave her as white and clean as that of her womanhood?

Go measure yourself by her standard; look back on the years that have fled:
Then ask, if you need, why she tells you that the love of her girlhood is dead.

She cannot look down to her lover; her love like her soul, aspires;
He must stand by her side, or above her, who would kindle its holy fires.

Now farewell! For the sake of old friendship I have ventured to tell you the truth,
As plainly, perhaps, and as bluntly, as I might in our earlier youth.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 4, 2010

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