Tabb’s Poetry XLVII


Here Fancy far outdoes the deed;
So hath Eternity the need
Of telling more than Time has taught
To fill the boundaries of thought.

Alter Ego

Thou art to me as is the sea
   Unto the shell;
A life whereof I breathe, a love
   Wherein I dwell.


For one extinguished light
Of Love, all heaven is night;
For one frail flower the less,
The world a wilderness.


This, biting Frost—this, branding Sun—
This, Wind or drenching Rain hath done:
Each perfecting the Sculptor’s plan
Upon the godlike image, Man.


She sleeps—her hiding-place unknown
   To other worshippers,
Till Art, her lover, comes alone
   To press his lips to hers.

John B. Tabb

For a recitation, click the play button:

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“Imagination”: Poems, p. 131; Poetry, p. 358. September 1893.

“Alter Ego”: Poems, p. 146; Poetry, p. 361. December 1892. Alter Ego: Latin, the other I; thus, a second self, someone close and trusted.

“Loss”: Later Poems, p. 44; Poetry, p. 369. January 1909.

“Wrinkles”: Later Poems, p. 71; Poetry, p. 370. November 1903. The last line alludes to Genesis 1:26.

“Beauty”: Later Poems, p. 38; Poetry, p. 371. 1910.

A convert to the Catholic faith, Rev. John Banister Tabb (1845-1909) was a priest of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, and Professor of English at St. Charles’ College, Ellicott City, Maryland. Poems selected, arranged, and annotated by E.L. Core.
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