My eye is fuller than my vase –
Her Cargo – is of Dew –
And still – my Heart – my Eye outweighs –
East India – for you!
F228 (1861) 202
|East India Trading Co.|
This short poem describes a state of love and longing. The poet starts with how full her eyes are of tears – and of love. They are more full of tears than her vase is of “Dew,” or water. That’s a lot of tears! I think the line can also be read that her eyes are more full of love than a vase is of water, and that the water / tear analogy is a reflection of the amount of love. The vase has it easy: what she carries, her “Cargo,” is only Dew while love and tears can be almost endless.
Despite that, the poet’s heart “outweighs” the tear-heavy eyes. Love here takes on the resonance of cargo and tears. Clearly this love is not a simple, carefree one.
The wealth of love and tears is compared to the riches of East India: costly spices, silks, ivory, indigo dye, diamonds, and opium, among other luxuries. The poet claims that her love is deep and precious – and all of it “for you!” The poem would make a nice, albeit slightly sad, Valentine. Short and sweet!
It’s written in alternating iambic tetrameter and trimeter with a rather predictable rhyme of “Dew” and “you.”