Had we but met in other days,
by John Hay
Had we but loved in other ways,
Another light and hope had shone
On your life and my own.
In sweet but hopeless reveries
I fancy how your wistful eyes
Had saved me, had I known their power
In fate's imperious hour;
How loving you, beloved of God,
And following you, the path I trod
Had led me, through your love and prayers,
To God's love unawares:
And how our beings joined as one
Had passed through checkered shade and sun,
Until the earth our lives had given,
With little change, to heaven.
God knows why this was not to be.
You bloomed from childhood far from me,
The sunshine of the favored place
That knew your youth and grace.
And when your eyes, so fair and free,
In fearless beauty beamed on me,
I knew the fatal die was thrown,
My choice in life was gone.
And still with wild and tender art
Your child-love touched my torpid heart,
Gilding the blackness where it fell,
Like sunlight over hell.
In vain, in vain! my choice was gone!
Better to struggle on alone
Than blot your pure life's blameless shine
With cloudy stains of mine.
A vague regret, a troubled prayer,
And then the future vast and fair
Will tempt your young and eager eyes
With all its glad surprise.
And I shall watch you, safe and far,
As some late traveller eyes a star
Wheeling beyond his desert sands
To gladden happier lands.