So vast the tide of love within me surging,
It overflows like some stupendous sea,
The confines of the Present and To-be;
And ‘gainst the Past’s high wall I feel it urging,
As it would cry, “Thou, too, shalt yield to me!”
All other loves my supreme love embodies;
I would be she on whose soft bosom nursed
Thy clinging infant lips to quench their thirst;
She who trod close to hidden worlds where God is,
That she might have, and hold, and see thee first.
I would be she who stirred the vague, fond fancies
Of thy still childish heart; who through bright days
Went sporting with thee in the old-time plays,
And caught the sunlight of thy boyish glances
In half-forgotten and long-buried Mays.
Forth to the end, and back to the beginning,
My love would send its inundating tide,
Wherein all landmarks of thy past should hide.
If thy life’s lesson MUST be learned through sinning,
My grieving virtue would become thy guide.
For I would share the burden of thy errors,
So when the sun of our brief life had set,
If thou didst walk in darkness and regret,
E’en in that shadowy world of nameless terrors,
My soul and thine should be companions yet.
And I would cross with thee those troubled oceans
Of dark remorse whose waters are despair:
All things my jealous, reckless love would dare,
So that thou mightst not recollect emotions
In which it did not have a part and share.
There is no limit to my love’s full measure,
It’s spirit-gold is shaped by earth’s alloy;
I would be friend and mother, mate and toy,
I’d have thee look to me for every pleasure,
And in me find all memories of joy.
Yet though I love thee in such selfish fashion,
I would wait on thee, sitting at thy feet,
And serving thee, if thou didst deem it meet.
And couldst thou give me one fond hour of passion,
I’d take that hour and call my life complete.
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox