I sometimes think that it is dead,
It lies so still. I bend and lean,
Like mother over cradle-head,
Wondering if still faint breaths are shed
Like sighs the parted lips between.
And then, with vivid pulse and thrill,
It quickens into sudden bliss
At sound of step or voice, nor will
Be hushed, although, regardless still,
He knows not, cares not, it is his.
I would not lift it if I could;
The little flame, though faint and dim
As glow-worm spark in lonely wood,
Shining where no man calls it good,
May one day light the path for him,—
May guide his way, or soon or late,
Through blinding mist or wintry rain;
And, so content, I watch and wait.
Let others share his happier fate,
I only ask to share his pain!
And if some day, when passing by,
My dear Love should his steps arrest,
Should mark the poor heart waiting nigh,
Should know it his, should lift it,—why,
Patience is good, but joy is best!
My morn was all dewy rose and pearl,
Peace brimmed the skies, a cool and fragrant air
Caressed my going forth, and everywhere
The radiant webs, by hope and fancy spun,
Stretched shining in the sun.
Then came a noon, hot, breathless, still,—
No wind to visit the dew-thirsty flowers,
Only the dust, the road, the urging hours;
And, pressing on, I never guessed or knew
That day was half-way through.
And when the pomp of purple lit the sky,
And sheaves of golden lances tipped with red
Danced in the west, wondering I gazed, and said,
“Lo, a new morning comes, my hopes to crown!”
Sudden the sun dropped down
Like a great golden ball into the sea,
Which made room, laughing, and the serried rank
Of yellow lances flashed, and, turning, sank
After their chieftain, as he led the way,
And all the heaven was gray.
Startled and pale, I stood to see them go;
Then a long, stealing shadow to me crept,
And laid his cold hand on me, and I wept
And hid my eyes, and shivered with affright
At thought of coming night.
But as I wept and shuddered, a warm thrill
Smote on my sense. I raised my eyes, and lo!
The skies, so dim but now, were all aglow
With a new flush of tender rose and gold,
Opening fold on fold.
Higher and higher soared the gracious beam,
Deeper and deeper glowed the heavenly hues,
Nor any cowering shadow could refuse
The beautiful embrace which clasped and kissed
Its dun to amethyst.
A little longer, and the lovely light,
Draining the last drops from its wondrous urn,
Departed, and the swart shades in their turn,
Impatient of the momentary mirth,
Crowded to seize the earth.