In silence I had loved her long:
In silence for my words were weak, And any prayer that I might speak Had only done my passion wrong.
Till, as it chanced upon a day,
Under the spreading garden limes, I read to her the burning rhymes Of Love's own poet past away.
And, lo! the might of my desire
Made his high minstrelsy my own,
And breathed in every word and tone The lover's not the poet's fire.
His eloquence grew mine — nay, more,
Taught by his pure imagining,
My love became an altered thing, Holier and deeper than before.
Then, as I laid the volume by
And turned to meet her eyes with mine, I caught the long unhoped-for shine Of love's light dawning in their sky.
So won I that sweet prize of her;
The voice of the immortal dead Had pleaded for me as I read, And been my love's interpreter.