Wonderful was the long secret night you gave me, my Love,
Palm to palm, breast to breast in the gloom.
Flushing with magical shadows the common-place room of the inn,
With its dull impersonal furniture, kindled a mystic flame
In the heart of the swinging mirror …
And note something remarkable about the verse: it’s dactylic hexameter, the verse of Homer and Virgil, usually reserved for limericks in English (“A tutor who tootled the flute…”) although Longfellow put it to good use in Evangeline. Lehman recalls that “In her journal, Wharton, then forty-six, wrote, ‘I have drunk the wine of life at last. I have known the thing best worth knowing.’”