Page images

About her brows, and her dear, pale face
They tied her veil and her marriage-lace;
And drew on her white feet her white silk shoes ;-
Which were the whiter no eye could choose!
And over her bosom they crossed her hands;
“Come away,” they said, - God understands ! ”
And then there was Silence; — and nothing there
But the Silence - and scents of eglantere,

And jasmine, and roses,

and rosemary; For they said, "As a lady should lie, lies she!"

And they held their breath as they left the room,
With a shudder to glance at its stillness and gloom.
But he — who loved her too well to dread
The sweet, the stately, the beautiful dead, -

He lit his lamp, and took the key,
And turn'd it! — Alone again - he and she!
He and she; but she would not speak,
Though he kiss'd, in the old place, the quiet cheek;
He and she; yet she would not smile,
Though he call'd her the name that was fondest erewhile.
He and she; and she did not move
To any one passionate whisper of love!
Then he said, “Cold lips! and breast without breath!
Is there no voice? — no language of death

“ Dumb to the ear and still to the sense. But to heart and to soul distinct, - intense? “See, now,- I listen with soul, not earWhat was the secret of dying, Dear? Was it the infinite wonder of all, That you ever could let life's flower fall? “Or was it a greater marvel to feel The perfect calm o'er the agony steal? “Was the miracle greatest to find how deep, Beyond all dreams, sank downward that sleep? “ Did life roll backward its record, Dear, And show, as they say it does, past things clear?

“And was it the innermost heart of the bliss To find out so what a wisdom love is?

Oh, perfect Dead! oh, Dead most dear, I hold the breath of my soul to hear;

[ocr errors]

“I listen as deep as to horrible
As high as to heaven!- and you do not tell!

“There must be pleasures in dying, Sweet, To make you so placid from head to feet! “I would tell you, Darling, if I were dead, And 'twere your hot tears upon my brow shed. "I would say though the angel of death had laid His sword on my lips to keep it unsaid.

" You should not ask, vainly, with streaming eyes, Which in Death's touch was the chiefest surprise;

“The very strangest and suddenest thing
Of all the surprises that dying must bring.”
Ah! foolish world! Oh! most kind Dead!
Though he told me, who will believe it was said?

Who will believe that he heard her say,
With the soft rich voice, in the dear old way:
“The utmost wonder is this, I hear,
And see you, and love you, and kiss you, Dear;

“I can speak, now you listen with soul alone; If your soul could see, it would all be shown.

“What a strange delicious amazement is Death, To be without body and breathe without breath. “I should laugh for joy if you did not cry; Oh, listen! Love lasts! — Love never will die. “I am only your Angel who was your Bride; And I know, that though dead, I have never died.”.



I loved thee once, I'll love no more,

Thine be the grief as is the blame;
Thou art not what thou wast before,
What reason I should be the same?

He that can love unloved again,

Hath better store of love than brain: God send me love


debts to pay, While unthrifts fool their love away.

Nothing could have my love o'erthrown,

If thou hadst still continued mine; Yea, if thou hadst remain'd thy own, I might perchance have yet been thine. But thou thy freedom did recall,

That if thou might elsewhere inthrall; And then how could I but disdain A captive's captive to remain?

When new desires had conquer'd thee,

And changed the object of thy will,
It had been lethargy in me,
Not constancy, to love thee still.

Yea, it had been a sin to go

And prostitute affection so,
Since we are taught no prayers to say
To such as must to others pray.

Yet do thou glory in thy choice,

Thy choice of his good fortune boast;
I'll neither grieve nor yet rejoice,
To see him gain what I have lost;

The height of my disdain shall be,

To laugh at him, to blush for thee;
To love thee still, but go no more
A begging to a beggar's door.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »