Elizabeth Stoddard



Now that the pain is gone, I too can smile.

by Elizabeth Stoddard

Now that the pain is gone, I too can smile
At such a foolish picture; you and me
Together in that moonlit summer night,
Within the shadow of an aspen-tree.

My hand was on your shoulder: I grew wild:
The blood seethed furiously through my heart!
But you -- Oh, you were saintly calm, and cold;
You moved my hand, and said, 'T is best we part!

My face fell on the bands of your fair hair,
A moonbeam struck across my hungry eye,
And struck across your balmy crimson mouth:
I longed to kiss you, and I longed to die!

Die in the shadow of the trembling tree,
Trembling my soul away upon your breast.
You smiled, and drifted both your snowy hands
Against my forehead, and your fingers pressed

Faintly and slow adown my burning face;
A keen sense of the woman touched you then,
The nice dramatic sense you women have,
Playing upon the feelings of us men!

Long years have passed since that midsummer night,
But still I feel the creeping of your hand
Along my face. If I return once more,
And in the shadow of that tree should stand

With you there -- Answer! Would you kiss me back?
Would you reject me if I sued again? --
How strange this is! I think my madness lasts,
Although I'm sure I have forgot the pain!


Copyright 1895
Houghton, Mifflin And Company, Boston And New York