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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Cosmo Monkhouse b. 1840

The Secret

SHE passes in her beauty bright

Amongst the mean, amongst the gay,

And all are brighter for the sight,

And bless her as she goes her way.

And now a gleam of pity pours,

And now a spark of spirit flies,

Uncounted, from the unlock’d stores

Of her rich lips and precious eyes.

And all men look, and all men smile,

But no man looks on her as I:

They mark her for a little while,

But I will watch her till I die.

And if I wonder now and then

Why this so strange a thing should be—

That she be seen by wiser men

And only duly lov’d by me:

I only wait a little longer,

And watch her radiance in the room;

Here making light a little stronger,

And there obliterating gloom,

(Like one who, in a tangled way,

Watches the broken sun fall through,

Turning to gold the faded spray,

And making diamonds of dew).

Until at last, as my heart burns,

She gathers all her scatter’d light,

And undivided radiance turns

Upon me like a sea of light.

And then I know they see in part

That which God lets me worship whole:

He gives them glances of her heart,

But me, the sunshine of her soul.