To Mrs. J.G. Holland
If roses had not faed, and frosts had never come, and one had not fallen here and there whom I could not waken, there were no need of other Heaven than the one below - and if God had been here this summer, and seen the things that I have seen - I guess that He would think His Paradise superfluous. Don't tell Him, for the world, though, for after all He's said about it, I should like to see what He was building for us, with no hammer, and no stone, and no journeyman either. Dear Mrs. Holland, I love, to-night - love you and Dr. Holland, and "time and sense" - and fading things, and things that do not fade.
I'm so glad you are not a blossom, for those in my garden fade, and then a "reaper whose name is Death" has come to get a few to help him make a bouquet for himself, so I'm glad you are not a rose - and I'm glad you are not a bee, for where they go when summer's done, only the thyme knows, and even were you a robin, when the west winds came, you would cooly wink at me, and away, some morning!
As "little Mrs. Holland," then, I think I love you most, and trust that tiny lady will dwell below while we dwell, and when with many a wonder we seek the new Land, her wistful face, with ours, shall look the last upon the hills, and first upon - well, Home!
Pardon my sanity, Mrs. Holland, in a world insane, and love me if you will, for I had rather be loved than to be called a king in earth, or a lord in Heaven.
Thank you for your sweet note - the clergy are very well. Will bring such fragments from them as shall seem me good. I kiss my paper here for you and Dr. Holland - would it were cheeks instead.