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WHAT I USED TO LOVE.
COMPOSED AT THE REQUEST OF HER SISTER
CELINE, SOME MONTHS AFTER THE LATTER’S
ENTRANCE INTO CARMEL.
“I have in my Beloved the mountains, the solitary and wooded valleys, the foreign islands, the resounding rivers, the murmur of the amorus zephyrs, * * * the peaceful night, so like the dawn of day, the harmonious solitude, — all that charms and that augments love.” — St. John of the Cross.
Oh, how I love your memory,
My childhood days, so glad and free!
To keep my innocence, dear Lord, for Thee,
Thy love came to me night and day,
So, when a little child was I,
To Thee I gave me utterly
Making with joy to Thee my promise high,
To wed a King beyond my view, —
I loved the Mother loved by Thee;
Saint Joseph, too, was friend to me.
How near Thy promised heaven seemed to be,
When shone, reflected in mine eyes,
I loved the fields of wheat, the plain
Of emerald grass, the gentle rain.
Joy grew so great in me, ‘twas almost pain!
How dear my sisters’ presence there;
I loved to cull the grass, the flowers,
Forget-me-nots in leafy bowers;
I found the violets’ perfume, all the hours, —
With crocus growing neath my feet,
I loved the daisies fair and white;
Our Sunday walks, — oh, what delight!
The azure skies so gloriously bright;
The birds that sang upon the tree
I loved my little shoe to grace,
Each Christmas in the chimney-place;
To find it there at morn, how swift I’d race!
The feast of heaven, I hailed it well;
I loved my mother’s gentle smile,
Her thoughtful glance that said, the while:
“Eternity doth me from you beguile.
I go to heaven, my God, to be
“I go to find, in realms above,
My angel-band in Mary’s love, ah, prove,
The children whom I leave below, ah, prove,
Jesu! to them their guide and stay,
Oh, how I loved my heavenly Lord,
In His blest Sacrament adored!
He bound me to Him by His given word
That He my Spouse from infancy
I loved, upon the terrace fair,
My father’s reveries to share;
To feel his gentle kisses on my hair.
I loved that father — who shall tell
Teresa, seated on his knee,
Listened with me there, tenderly,
To those melodious songs he sang for me.
Those accents sweet I can not yet
O Memory, what joys you bring!
You wake the thought of many a thing
That flew from me, long since, like birds awing.
Faces I see, voices I hear
At sunset’s hour I loved to be,
Teresa, heart to heart with thee;
Thy soul was as my very own to me.
My sister-friend, my love, wert thou
Hand clasped in hand our hymns we sang.
Above earth’s noisy clash and clang,
Our voices through the holy twilight rang.
Our dreams were then to Carmel given,
In Switzerland and Italy
Thefairest scenes were shown to me;
But fairer yet I deemed the sight to be
Of him, — Father of Christendom, —
The Coliseum’s hallowed ground,
With rapturous joy, my footsteps found;
The Catacombs re-echoed to the sound
Of hymns I sang to Thee, th’ Adored,
My Lord !
What sorrows followed then, amain;
What fears have filled my heart with pain!
But Jesus came to help me, and sustain,
And His dear cross has been my stay
I fled the world, I turned my face,
And. in a quiet resting-place,
I sought in silent prayer for constant grace
My load to bear, and for my grief
I loved to hear, from distant towers,
The sweet church-bells ring out the hours;
I loved to cull, through burning tears, the flowers
And hear, at eve, among the trees,
I loved the swallows’ graceful flight,
The turtledoves’ low chant at night,
The pleasant sound of insects gay and bright,
The grassy vale where doth belong
I loved the delicate morning-dew,
On Bengal rose of charming hue;
I loved to see the virginal bee accrue
Its store of honey from the flower, —
I loved to gather autumn leaves;
And, where the moss a carpet weaves,
How oft, from ‘mongst the vines, my hand receives
A butterfly, so light of wing, —
I loved the glow-worm on the sod;
The countless stars, so near to God!
But most I loved the beauteous moon, endowed
With shining disk of silver bright,
To my dear father, worn and old,
I gave myself with love untold.
He was all to me. Joy, and home, and gold,
Were mine in him; for him my kiss,
We loved the sweet sound of the sea,
The storm, the calm, all things that be,
At eve, the nightingale sang from the tree.
Oh, seemed to us like seraphim
But came one day when his sweet eyes
Sought Jesus’ cross with glad surprise . . .
And then — my precious, loving father dies!
His last dear glance to me was given;
Then — heaven!
Jesus, with hand benign and blest,
Took Celine’s treasure to his rest,
Where endless joys are evermore possessed;
Placing him near his throne of love,
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Now, Lord, I am Thy prisoner here;
Gone are the joys once held so dear.
I have found out, — none last, all seek their bier.
I have seen all my joys pass by,
The grass is withered in its bed;
The flowers within my hands are dead.
Would that my weary feet, Jesu! might tread
Thy heavenly fields, and I might be
E’en as the thirsting hart doth crave
Its lips in some cool stream to lave,
I seek from Thee, Jesu! the healing wave.
I need, to calm my ardors and my fears,
Thy love, naught else, attracts my soul;
Heaven is my only aim, my goal;
Love, Love divine, has me in Its control.
I seek the Lamb upon His throne,
Jesu! Thou art that Lamb divine;
Naught else I crave, if I am Thine.
In Thee all things in heaven and earth are mine!
Thou art the lovely Flower of spring,
Thou art the Lily, pure and fair;
Thy perfume sweet embalms the air.
O Bunch of sacred Myrrh, divinely rare,
Upon my heart, I beg Thee, stay
Thy love goes with me where I go!
In Thee have I the sparkling snow,
The rains, the lofty hills, the valleys low,
The babbling brooks, the leafy trees,
All these I have in Thee, dear Lord:
The yellow wheat, the harvest horde,
The Rose of Sharon, — type of Thee, Adored!
Round me what flowers of charming dyes
I have the dear melodious lyre,
The solitude of my desire,
My waves, and mighty rocks, and brilliant fire,
My birds that sing, my murmuring stream,
— Fair dream!
My rainbow in my rain-washed skies,
Horizon where my suns arise,
Island in far-off seas, pearl I most prize,
Springtime and butterflies, I see
Thy love is like the flowers of May,
The palm-trees where the breezes play,
The nights almost as bright and light as day.
In Thee I find what shall not cease, —
Delicious grapes in Thee are mine,
The purple burden of the vine;
The virgin forest and the stately pine,
The fair haired children, Lord, I see
In Thee I have the springs, the rills,
The mignonette, the daffodils,
The eglantine, the harebell on the hills,
The trembling poplar, sighing low
In Thee I have the waving wheat,
The winds that murmur low and sweet.
All Mary’s flowers, once blooming at my feet,
The glowing plain, the tender grass, I see
Beneath my habit’s plain, coarse fold
Thou givest me rare gems and gold.
Within my clasp what brilliant rings I hold, —
Pearls, sapphires, rubies, diamonds bright, —
The lovely lake, the valley fair
And lonely, in the lambent air,
The ocean touched with silver everywhere,
In Thee their treasures, all combined,
I have the barque on mighty seas,
Its shining track, the shore, the breeze,
The sun that sinks behind the leafy trees,
Lighting the clouds, ere it expire,
In Thee, the glorious stars are mine;
And often at the day’s decline
I see, as through some veil silken and fine,
Beckoning from heaven, our fatherland,
O Thou Who governest all the earth,
Who giv’st the mighty forests birth,
And at one glance mak’st all their life of worth!
On me Thou gazest, from above,
I have Thy Face, I have Thy Heart!
Lo! I am wounded with thy dart;
Thou dost Thy sacred kiss to me impart.
I love Thee! Thee alone I view,
I go, to chant, with angel-throngs,
The homage that to Thee belongs.
Soon let me fly away, to join their songs!
Oh, let me die of love, I pray,
Drawn by the light, the insect flies
To meet the flame wherein it dies.
So, to Thy light, my longing soul would rise;
So would I gladly in that tire,
I hear, e’en I, Thy last and least,
The music from Thy heavenly feast;
There, there, receive me as Thy loving guest!
There, to my harp, oh, bid me sing,
Mary I go to see, and there
The saints, and those once treasured here.
Life is all past, and dried at last each tear.
To me my home again is given, —
April 28, 1895.
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