Beatrice

Author: Lewis Carroll  | Date: 1862

BEATRICE

IN her eyes is the living light

Of a wanderer to earth

From a far celestial height:

Summers five are all the span-

Summers five since Time began

To veil in mists of human night

A shining angel-birth.

Does an angel look from her eyes?

Will she suddenly spring away,

And soar to her home in the skies?

Beatrice! Blessing and blessed to be!

Beatrice! Still, as I gaze on thee,

Visions of two sweet maids arise,

Whose life was of yesterday:

Of a Beatrice pale and stern,

With the lips of a dumb despair,

With the innocent eyes that yearn-

Yearn for the young sweet hours of life,

Far from sorrow and far from strife,

For the happy summers, that never return,

When the world seemed good and fair:

Of a Beatrice glorious, bright-

Of a sainted, ethereal maid,

Whose blue eyes are deep fountains of light,

Cheering the poet that broodeth apart,

Filling with gladness his desolate heart,

Like the moon when she shines thro’ a cloudless night

On a world of silence and shade.

And the visions waver and faint,

And the visions vanish away

That my fancy delighted to paint-

She is here at my side, a living child,

With the glowing cheek and the tresses wild,

Nor death-pale martyr, nor radiant saint,

Yet stainless and bright as they.

For I think, if a grim wild beast

Were to come from his charnel-cave,

From his jungle-home in the East-

Stealthily creeping with bated breath,

Stealthily creeping with eyes of death-

He would all forget his dream of the feast,

And crouch at her feet a slave.

She would twine her hand in his mane:

She would prattle in silvery tone,

Like the tinkle of summer-rain-

Questioning him with her laughing eyes,

Questioning him with a glad surprise,

Till she caught from those fierce eyes again

The love that lit her own.

And be sure, if a savage heart,

In a mask of human guise,

Were to come on her here apart-

Bound for a dark and a deadly deed,

Hurrying past with pitiless speed-

He would suddenly falter and guiltily start

At the glance of her pure blue eyes.

Nay, be sure, if an angel fair,

A bright seraph undefiled,

Were to stoop from the trackless air,

Fain would she linger in glad amaze-

Lovingly linger to ponder and gaze,

With a sister’s love and a sister’s care,

On the happy, innocent child.

Dec. 4, 1862.

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Chicago: Lewis Carroll, Beatrice Original Sources, accessed February 27, 2021, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=7GKHES4S7FJ1E9P.

MLA: Carroll, Lewis. Beatrice, Original Sources. 27 Feb. 2021. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=7GKHES4S7FJ1E9P.

Harvard: Carroll, L, Beatrice. Original Sources, retrieved 27 February 2021, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=7GKHES4S7FJ1E9P.