The door was shut. I looked between
Its iron bars; and saw it lie,
My garden, mine, beneath the sky,
Pied with all flowers bedewed and green:
From bough to bough the song-birds crossed,
From flower to flower the moths and bees;
With all its nests and stately trees
It had been mine, and it was lost.
A shadowless spirit kept the gate,
Blank and unchanging like the grave. 10
I peering through said: ’Let me have
Some buds to cheer my outcast state.’
He answered not. ’Or give me, then,
But one small twig from shrub or tree;
And bid my home remember me
Until I come to it again.’
The spirit was silent; but he took
Mortar and stone to build a wall;
He left no loophole great or small
Through which my straining eyes might look: 20
So now I sit here quite alone
Blinded with tears; nor grieve for that,
For nought is left worth looking at
Since my delightful land is gone.
A violet bed is budding near,
Wherein a lark has made her nest:
And good they are, but not the best;
And dear they are, but not so dear.
Some are laughing, some are weeping;
She is sleeping, only sleeping.
Round her rest wild flowers are creeping;
There the wind is heaping, heaping
Sweetest sweets of Summer’s keeping.
By the corn-fields ripe for reaping.
There are lilies, and there blushes
The deep rose, and there the thrushes
Sing till latest sunlight flushes
In the west; a fresh wind brushes 10
Through the leaves while evening hushes.
There by day the lark is singing
And the grass and weeds are springing;
There by night the bat is winging;
There for ever winds are bringing
Far-off chimes of church-bells ringing.
Night and morning, noon and even,
Their sound fills her dreams with Heaven:
The long strife at lent is striven:
Till her grave-bands shall be riven 20
Such is the good portion given
To her soul at rest and shriven.
She sat and sang alway
By the green margin of a stream,
Watching the fishes leap and play
Beneath the glad sunbeam.
I sat and wept alway
Beneath the moon’s most shadowy beam,
Watching the blossoms of the May
Weep leaves into the stream.
I wept for memory;
She sang for hope that is so fair: 10
My tears were swallowed by the sea;
Her songs died on the air.
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.