A Great Sacrifice Self-Compensated

True I have had much comfort gazing on thee,
Much too perhaps in thinking I might have thee
Nearly myself, a fellow soul to live with.
But, weighing well man’s frail and perilous tenure
Of all good in the restless, wavy world,
Ne’er dared I set my soul on any thing
Which but a touch of time can shake to pieces.
Alone in the eternal is my hope.
Took I thee? that intensest joy of love
Would soon grow fainter and at last dissolve.
But, if I yield thee, there is something done
Which from the crumbling earth my soul divorces,
And gives it room to be a greater spirit.
There is a greater pang, methinks, in nature
When she takes back the life of a dead world,
Than when a new one severs from her depth
Its bright, revolving birth. So I’ll not hoard thee,
But let thee part, reluctant, though in hope
That greater happiness will thence arise.

[Kelsall, 1851]