“To One in Paradise” was first published without a title as part of the short story “The Visionary” (later renamed “The Assignation”). It evolved into “To Ianthe in Heaven” and then into “To One Beloved” before being named “To One in Paradise” in the February 25, 1843 Saturday Museum.
Modernist poet William Carlos Williams considered “To One In Paradise” one of his most preferred poems.
The poem inspired a song composed by Sir Arthur Sullivan. “To One In Paradise” was published posthumously in 1904 and written for a tenor voice with piano.
Thou wast all that to me, love,
For which my soul did pine —
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.
Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
“On! on!”— but o’er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!
For, alas! alas! me
The light of Life is o’er!
“No more — no more — no more-”
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree
Or the stricken eagle soar!
And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams —
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:53