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Poem by Frederick William Faber


First Love


I have been long without a home,
And yearned too much for one;
And scanty are the deeds of faith
My lonely heart hath done:
For many a night my weary bed
Hath felt the weak tears run.
Cold armour of ambitious dreams
I bade my soul to wear,
And to false friendship's wildfire sweet
Have laid my spirit bare;
And some few times pure heavenly thoughts
Awhile have lighted there.

But still my sickness grew, and still
The fever gained worse power;
And every star that gentlest shone
Above my dreary tower
Hath waned long since, or waneth now,
More palely every hour.
But I have felt thy light low voice,
Thy soft eye's languid beam,
And light and colour have come back
Unto my purest dream,
And to my heart the old fresh blood
Hath mounted in a stream.
Health, power, deep gladness have come back
With shouts and songs of bliss;
Of all my loves in this bright crowd
There is not one I missЧ
Oh! never mortal soul hath had
A wakening like this!

No tossing now on feverish thoughts,
No sick heart's burning swell,
No waiting day by day to bid
Each new false hope farewell,
Free, without chains, my spirit starts
And breaks the long dull spell.
It is not passion's lurid light,
Nor friendship's meteor way,
False gleams that through pale summer nights
From far-off tempests play,
But one rich golden orb that shines
Steady and large all day
A full, warm, fostering light wherein
The heart's best foliage springs,
A flame to whose sweet sternness faith
Each brittle purpose brings,
An altar-fire where hope is fed,
And prayer and praise find wings.

Thou art too young for me to tell
My hidden love to thee;
And, till fit season, it must burn
In darkest privacy,
For years must pass and fortunes change
Till such fit season be.
Young as thou art, hadst thou but seen
This withered heart before,
And poured thy love, as o'er some plant
Thou dost fresh water pour,
And watched the fragrance and the hue
Grow into it once moreЧ
Thou wouldst, mayhap, have felt within
Thy first and sweetest strife,
And marvelled much at the new taste
And power it gave to life;
And so less like a dream had been
My first dream of a Wife.



Frederick William Faber


Frederick William Faber's other poems:
  1. To My Reader
  2. Laud's Devotions
  3. The Will of God
  4. Have Mercy on Us, God Most High
  5. Jesus, Gentlest Savior


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • John Clare First Love ("I ne'er was struck before that hour")
  • Caroline Norton First Love ("YES, I know that you once were my lover")
  • Washington Allston First Love ("Ah me! how hard the task to bear")
  • Louise Moulton First Love ("Time was you heard the music of a sigh")

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