So he travelled onward, desolate
no longer, patient in his seeking,
Reaping all the wayside comfort of his quest;
Till at last in Thracia, high upon Mount Haemus, far from human dwelling,
Weary Aristaeus laid him down to rest.
Then the honey-makers, clad in downy
whiteness, fluttered soft around
Wrapt him in a dreamful slumber pure and deep.
This is life, beloved: first a sheltered garden, then a troubled journey,
Joy and pain of seeking,—and at last we sleep!
The other night I had a dream, most clear
And comforting, complete
In every line, a crystal sphere,
And full of intimate and secret cheer.
Therefore I will repeat
That vision, dearest heart, to you,
As of a thing not feigned, but very true,
Yes, true as ever in my life befell;
And you, perhaps, can tell
Whether my dream was really sad or sweet.
The shadows flecked the elm-embowered
I knew so well, long, long ago;
And on the pillared porch where Marguerite
Had sat with me, the moonlight lay like snow.
But she, my comrade and my friend of youth,
Most gaily wise,
Most innocently loved,—
She of the blue-gray eyes
That ever smiled and ever spoke the truth,—
From that familiar dwelling, where she moved
Like mirth incarnate in the years before,
Had gone into the hidden house of Death.
I thought the garden wore
White mourning for her blessed innocence,
And the syringa’s breath
Came from the corner by the fence
Where she had made her rustic seat,
With fragrance passionate, intense,
As if it breathed a sigh for Marguerite.
My heart was heavy with a sense
Of something good for ever gone. I sought
Vainly for some consoling thought,
Some comfortable word that I could say
To her sad father, whom I visited again
For the first time since she had gone away.
The bell rang shrill and lonely,—then
The door was opened, and I sent my name
To him,—but ah! ’twas Marguerite who came!
There in the dear old dusky room she stood
Beneath the lamp, just as she used to stand,
In tender mocking mood.
“You did not ask for me,” she said,
“And so I will not let you take my hand;
But I must hear what secret talk you planned
With father. Come, my friend, be good,
And tell me your affairs of state:
Why you have stayed away and made me wait
So long. Sit down beside me here,—
And, do you know, it seems a year
Since we have talked together,—why so late?”
Amazed, incredulous, confused with joy
I hardly dared to show,
And stammering like a boy,