Your favorite flowers he has heard you praise,
Purple pansies, and lilies creamy white;
But he offers them not to you to-night,
He troubles you not, he has learned “his place.”
You wished to teach him that lesson, you told
Him as much, you know, in this very room,
’Twas about this hour, for the twilight gloom
As now, was enwrapping you, fold on fold.
Was “his place” in the haunts of the herded
Where the pestilence stalked with deadly breath?
Face to face with its dreadful shadow, death,
How he wrestled with it from door to door,
Giving his life that others life might find,
Shaming you with his toil, his bravery,
Not by a word or look, no boaster he,
He was always gentle to you, and kind.
He has found “his place,” but no need
No; you need not summon your jealous pride,
For “his place” will never be by your side,
Nevermore, nevermore, through all the years.
And when from Time shall drop Earth’s days
Like chaff from the bloom of the year sublime,
With the gentle spirits of every time,
And the martyr souls, he will find his place.
So answers will come to our seeking wills,
Nevermore will his sad face vex your sight,
For you never will make your robes so white
As to stand by him on the heavenly hills.
Yes, lay your cheek upon his, and press
The clustering hair from his broad white brow,
Have no fear, he will not annoy you now
By a word in praise of your loveliness.
Yes, kneel by him, moaning, kissing his brow,
Not now will it grieve him, your tears’ swift rain,
And he will not ask you to share your pain;
Ah! Once he would, but not now—not now.
So leave the old room in the waning light,
Go out in your peerless beauty and pride,
And let no shadow go out by your side
To follow you under the falling night.
The world is asleep! All hushed is Nature’s
warm, sweet breath.
The world is asleep, and dreaming the silent dream of snow,
But through the silence that seems like the silence of death,
Under their shroud of ermine, the souls of the roses glow.
And forever the heart of the water throbs and beats,
Though bound by a million gleaming fetters and crystal rings,
No sound on lonesome mornings the lonely watcher greets,
But the frosty pane is impressed with the shadow of coming wings.
I know not where you wait for me in all your maiden
Sweet soul in whom my life will find its rest, its full completeness;
But somewhere you await me, Fate will lead us to each other,
As roses know the sunlight, so shall we know one another.
Dear heart, what are you doing in this twilight’s
Do you tend your dewy flowers with fingers white and slender,
Heavy, odor-laden branches in blessing bent above you,
Fond lilies kneeling at your feet, winds murmuring they love you?