Whom I always love to see;
Haply he had feigned slumber
To another friend than me;
But as I was hesitating,
Quarrelling with my own heart,
Half unwilling to awake him,
All unwilling to depart, -
Called he me by name, and turning,
Let me take the wished-for place
By his bedside, leaning o'er him,
Circling him with large embrace.
Just above the snow-white linen
Cherub-like appeared his head,
Seeming like an infant angel
Lacking only wings out-spread;
Almost it might upward flutter,
Wing its way above the sky,
Leave its fond but earthly lover,
And with saints and angels hover,
Face to face with God most high.
Yet, as ministers of Heaven
May sometimes with mortals dwell,
So thy presence sweet is given
Unto him who loves thee well!
Wistfully he now regards thee,
Knowing not if more is gained
By an outburst of affection,
Or by passion half restrained.
Filled with deep dissatisfaction,
With perfection of unrest,
With a strange and nameless yearning
For some good he has not guessed, -
Knowing only that this longing
Soars all other joys above, -
If he e'er finds satisfaction,
It will only be in love!