Stafford, Wendell Phillips

Love’s Testament

Volume 16:1, January 2015
Sonnet Issue

Love’s Testament

(On a mirror)

If you should kneel some day at this clear shrine
And find no comfort in its oracle,
And think how sweetly the responses fell
In days when life was dear and love divine;
If you should read its record, line by line,
Of all the fluent years have had to tell,
And muse of one who keeps the silence well,
Then you shall take to heart this word of mine:
The years rob not your sweet brow of its grace;
If with their libels it were all o’erwrit
I would believe no word their fingers trace;
And if God said, “Thou shalt remould her face
And fashion all as love shall find more fit,”
I would not change one dear, odd way in it.


Wendell Phillips Stafford (May 1, 1861 - April 21, 1953) was a federal judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He received a recess appointment from President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. He became a Professor at George Washington University in 1908. Stafford served on the bench until retiring on May 4, 1931. Stafford was also a poet, and his published works include: North Flowers (1902); Dorian Days (1909); and The Land We Love (1916).