by Phoebe Carey
Thou marvellest why so oft her eyes
Fill with the heavy dew of tears --
Have I not told thee that there lies
A shadow darkly on her years?
Life was to her one sunny whole,
Made up of visions fancy wove,
Till that the waters of her soul
Were troubled by the touch of love.
I knew when first the sudden pause
Upon her spirit's sunshine fell:
Alas! I little guessed the cause,
'Twas hidden in her heart so well.
Our lives since early infancy
Had flowed as rills together flow,
And now to hide her thought from me
Was bitterer than to tell its wo.
One night, when clouds with anguish black
A tempest in her bosom woke,
She crushed the bitter tear-drops back,
And told me that her heart was broke
I learned it when the autumn hours
With wailing winds around us sighed --
'T was summer when her love's young flowers
Burst into glorious life and died:
No -- now I can remember well,
'Twas the soft month of sun and shower;
A thousand times I've heard her tell
The season, and the very hour:
For now, when'er the tear-drops start
As if to ease its throbbing pain,
She leans her head upon my heart
And tells the very tale again.
Tis something of a moon, that beamed
Upon her weak and trembling form,
And one beside, on whom she leaned,
That scarce had stronger heart or arm --
Of souls united there until
Death the last ties of life shall part,
And a fond kiss whose rapturous thrill
Still vibrates softly in her heart.
It is an era strange, yet sweet,
Which every woman's thought has known,
When first her young heart learns to beat
To the soft music of a tone;
That era when she first begins
To know what love alone can teach,
That there are hidden depths within
Which friendship never yet could reach
And all earth has of bitter wo
Is light beside her hopeless doom
Who sees love's first sweet star below
Fade slowly till it sets in gloom.
There may be heavier grief to move
The heart that mourns an idol dead.
But one who weeps a living love
Has surely little left to dread.
I cannot tell why love so true
As theirs should only end in gloom;
Some mystery that I never knew
Was woven darkly with their doom.
I only know their dream was vain,
And that they woke to find it past,
And when by chance they met again,
It was not as they parted last.
His was not faith that lightly dies,
For truth and love as clearly shone
In the blue heaven of his soft eyes,
As the dark midnight of her own:
And therefore Heaven alone can tell
What are his living visions now;
But hers -- the eye can read too well
The language written on her brow.
In the soft twilight, dim and sweet,
Once watching by the lattice pane,
She listened for his coming feet,
For whom she never looked in vain:
Then hope shone brightly on her brow,
That had not learned its after fears --
Alas! she cannot sit there now,
But that her dark eyes fill with tears!
And every woodland pathway dim
And bower of roses cool and sweet,
That speak of vanished days and him,
Are spots forbidden to her feet.
No thought within her bosom stirs
But wakes some feeling dark and dread:
God keep thee from a doom like hers --
Of living when the hopes are dead!
Source:The Poems Of Phoebe Carey
New York: Hurst And Company