Why now, with your tear-dimmed vision,
So softly do you press
Upon the wrinkled forehead
Your lips in sad caress?
How much of care had lighted
That lingering, loving kiss,
Had you in life but gave it—
You never thought of this.
No loving hand e’er brightened
Her life with tender care,
No mother’s baby-kisses
Were ever hers to share.
Only for others caring,
The long, long years have fled;
Now, only, they say,—the neighbors—
“Poor old Aunt Lucy’s dead.”
And they whisper a girl’s ambition,
A name in the world to make;
’Way back in her vanished youth-time,
Gave up for a duty’s sake.
But whatever had been the story
Of love, or grief, or woe,
It died with the heart, and no one
Will ever care or know.
The hands were hard and toil-stained,
And sallow the cheeks and chin,
But whiter not the snow-wreath
Than the soul that dwelt within.
And methinks a crown resplendent—
Just over the waveless sea—
With gems of self-denial,
Awaits for such as she.
Unspoken words may thrill the heart,
Their meaning be more deeply felt
Than all the glowing oratory
Poured at the shrine where reason knelt.
The fairest pictures art conceives,
The noblest sentiments of mind,
The loveliest, purest gems of thought
Are those which never are defined.
The hand that paints the rainbow dyes
Ne’er leaves a trace its skill to show—
The art that gilds the sunset skies
And tints the flower, we may not know.
Nor may we know the wizard power
Which o’er our being wields control,
Nor how, when silence seals the lips,
Heart speaks to heart and soul to soul.
We do not know from whence the life
Imbued in crystal drop of rain,
Nor why, when torn and trampled on,
The rose’s fragrance will remain.
Nor know we why the tender tone
Will linger when love’s dream is fled,
Now why the smile we loved will live,
Although the face it wreathed will be dead.
Some strangely fascinating spell
Steals o’er the heart in ethic’s hour;
We know not what, nor how, nor why,
Still must we own we feel its power—
A power that wakens slumbering dreams,
Intangible emotion swells,
That penetrates the soul’s deep fount,
And greets the tide that from it wells.
It is not charm of form or face,
Nor is it long contact of years
That wins this mutual soul response,
This spirit sympathy endears.
A theory by time engraved
Fro life, one mad impulse may sweep—
A glance may into being start
Vain hopes that nevermore may sleep.
The quiet touch when hands are clasped
Would seemingly no sense impart,
Yet may it wake a deathless theme
And send it quivering to the heart.
And thus may kindred spirits feel,
Though tone of voice be never heard,
The sweet impassioned eloquence,
The magic of unspoken words.