Richard Hovey

(1864-1900 / United States)

The Two Lovers - Poem by Richard Hovey

The lover of her body said:
'She is more beautiful than night, -
But like the kisses of the dead
Is my despair and my delight.'

The lover of her soul replied:
'She is more wonderful than death, -
But bitter as the aching tide
Is all the speech of love she saith.'

The lover of her body said:
'To know one secret of her heart,
For all the joy that I have had,
Is past the reach of all my art.'

The lover of her soul replied:
'The secrets of her heart are mine, -
Save how she lives, a riven bride,
Between the dust and the divine.'

The lover of her body sware:
'Though she should hate me, wit you well,
Rather than yield one kiss of her
I give my soul to burn in hell.'

The lover of her soul cried out:
'Rather than leave her to your greed,
I would that I were walled about
With death, - and death were death indeed!'

The lover of her body wept,
And got no good of all his gain,
Knowing that in her heart she kept
The penance of the other's pain.

The lover of her soul went mad,
But when he did himself to death,
Despite of all the woe he had,
He smiled as one who vanquisheth.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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