Late Lyrics and Earlier : with Many Other Verses eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about Late Lyrics and Earlier .

Versified from a Diary.

Versified from a Diary.

What did it mean?”

What did it mean that noontide, when
You bade me pluck the flower
Within the other woman’s bower,
   Whom I knew nought of then?

I thought the flower blushed deeplier—­aye,
And as I drew its stalk to me
It seemed to breathe:  “I am, I see,
Made use of in a human play.”

And while I plucked, upstarted sheer
As phantom from the pane thereby
A corpse-like countenance, with eye
That iced me by its baleful peer —
   Silent, as from a bier . . .

When I came back your face had changed,
   It was no face for me;
O did it speak of hearts estranged,
   And deadly rivalry

   In times before
   I darked your door,
   To seise me of
   Mere second love,
Which still the haunting first deranged?


I sat at dinner in my prime,
And glimpsed my face in the sideboard-glass,
And started as if I had seen a crime,
And prayed the ghastly show might pass.

Wrenched wrinkled features met my sight,
Grinning back to me as my own;
I well-nigh fainted with affright
At finding me a haggard crone.

My husband laughed.  He had slily set
A warping mirror there, in whim
To startle me.  My eyes grew wet;
I spoke not all the eve to him.

He was sorry, he said, for what he had done,
And took away the distorting glass,
Uncovering the accustomed one;
And so it ended?  No, alas,

Fifty years later, when he died,
I sat me in the selfsame chair,
Thinking of him.  Till, weary-eyed,
I saw the sideboard facing there;

And from its mirror looked the lean
Thing I’d become, each wrinkle and score
The image of me that I had seen
In jest there fifty years before.


There it stands, though alas, what a little of her
   Shows in its cold white look! 
Not her glance, glide, or smile; not a tittle of her
   Voice like the purl of a brook;
   Not her thoughts, that you read like a book.

It may stand for her once in November
   When first she breathed, witless of all;
Or in heavy years she would remember
   When circumstance held her in thrall;
   Or at last, when she answered her call!

Nothing more.  The still marble, date-graven,
   Gives all that it can, tersely lined;
That one has at length found the haven
   Which every one other will find;
   With silence on what shone behind.

St. Juliot:  September 8, 1916.



Project Gutenberg
Late Lyrics and Earlier : with Many Other Verses from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook