by Helen Hunt Jackson
Dear yesterday, glide not so fast;
O, let me cling
To thy white garments floating past;
Even to shadows which they cast
I cling, I cling.
Show me thy face
Just once, once more; a single night
Cannot have brought a loss, a blight
Upon its grace.
Nor are they dead whom thou dost bear,
Robed for the grave.
See what a smile their red lips wear
To lay them living wilt thou dare
Into a grave?
I know, I know,
I left thee first; now I repent;
I listen now; I never meant
To have thee go.
Just once, once more, tell me the word
Thou hadst for me!
Alas! although my heart was stirred,
I never fully knew or heard
It was for me.
My yesterday, thy sorest pain,
Were joy couldst thou but come again, --
Venice, May 26.
ALL red with joy the waiting west,
O little swallow,
Couldst thou tell me which road is best?
Cleaving high air with thy soft breast
For keel, O swallow,
Thou must o'erlook
My seas and know if I mistake;
I would not the same harbor make
Which yesterday forsook.
I hear the swift blades dip and plash
Of unseen rowers;
On unknown land the waters dash;
Who knows how it be wise or rash
To meet the rowers!
Venetia's boatmen lean and cry;
With voiceless lips, I drift and lie
Upon the twilight sea.
The swallow sleeps. Her last low call
Had sound of warning.
Sweet little one, whate'er befall,
Thou wilt not know that it was all,
In vain thy warning.
I may not borrow
A hope, a help. I close my eyes;
Cold wind blows from the Bridge of Sighs;
Kneeling I wait to-morrow.
Venice, May 30.
Roberts Brothers, Boston