Because the angels in the Heavens above,
Devoutly singing unto one another,
Can find, amid their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of “mother,”
Therefore by that sweet name I long have called you;
You who are more than mother unto me,
Filling my heart of hearts, where God installed you,
In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.
My mother — my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the dead I loved so dearly,
Are thus more precious than the one I knew,
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.