Frank Dempster Sherman



by Frank Dempster Sherman

Ghosts of departed winged things,
What memories are those
That tempt you with your damask wings
Here where my candle glows?

Vainly you hover, circling oft
The tongue of yellow flame:
A tiger by caresses soft
You vainly seek to tame.

Here is no hope for you: nay, here
Death lurks within the light,
To leap upon you flying near
And sweep you from the night.

Moon-butterflies, back to your blooms
Born of the dew and stars!
Hence, ghosts, and find again your glooms
Hidden by shadow-bars.

Quick, -- speed across the dusky blue,
Lest, in a sudden breath,
This tawny tiger wake, and you
Endure a second death!


Lyrics For A Lute
Copyright 1890
Boston and New York, Houghton, Mifflin, and Company