The curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept
And strewn with rushes; rosemary and may
Lay thick upon the bed on which I lay,
Where through the lattice ivy-shadows crept.
He leaned above me, thinking that I slept
And could not hear him; but I heard him say,
“Poor child, poor child”: and as he turned away
Came a deep silence, and I knew he wept.
He did not touch the shroud, or raise the fold
That hid my face, or take my hand in his,
Or ruffle the smooth pillows for my head:
He did not love me living; but once dead
He pitied me; and very sweet it is
To know he still is warm though I am cold.
Step lightly across the floor,
And somewhat more tender be.
There were many that passed
Many that sought after me.
I gave them the passing word—
Ah, why did I give thee more?
I gave thee what could not be heard,
What had not been given before;
The beat of my heart I gave....
And I give thee this flower on my grave.
My face in the flower thou mayst see.
Step lightly across the floor.
When I was dead, my spirit turned
To seek the much-frequented house.
I passed the door, and saw my friends
Feasting beneath green orange-boughs;
From hand to hand they pushed the wine,
They sucked the pulp of plum and peach;
They sang, they jested, and they laughed,
For each was loved of each.
I listened to their honest chat.
Said one, “To-morrow we shall be
Plod-plod along the featureless sands,
And coasting miles and miles of sea.”
Said one, “Before the turn of tide
We will achieve the eyrie-seat.”
Said one, “To-morrow shall be like
To-day, but much more sweet.”
“To-morrow,” said they, strong with hope,
And dwelt upon the pleasant way:
“To-morrow,” cried they one and all,
While no one spoke of yesterday.
Their life stood full at blessed noon;
I, only I had passed away:
“To-morrow and to-day,” they cried;
I was of yesterday.
I shivered comfortless, but cast
No chill across the tablecloth;
I, all-forgotten, shivered, sad
To stay and yet to part how loth:
I passed from the familiar room,
I whom from love had passed away,
Like the remembrance of a guest
That tarrieth but a day.
I pushed the tangled grass away
And lifted up the stone,
And flitted down the churchyard path
With grasses overgrown.
I halted at my mother’s door
And shook the rusty catch—
“The wind is rising fast,” she said,
“It rattles at the latch.”