John Hay

John Hay

October 8, 1838 - July 1, 1905



by John Hay

How well my heart remembers
Beside these camp-fire embers
The eyes that smiled so far away, --
The joy that was November's.

Her voice to laughter moving,
So merrily reproving, --
We wandered through the autumn woods,
And neither thought of loving.

The hills with light were glowing,
The waves in joy were flowing, --
It was not to the clouded sun
The day's delight was owing.

Though through the brown leaves straying,
Our lives seemed gone a-Maying;
We knew not Love was with us there,
No look nor tone betraying.

How unbelief still misses
The best of being's blisses!
Our parting saw the first and last
Of love's imagined kisses.

Now 'mid these scenes the drearest
I dream of her, the dearest, --
Whose eyes outshine the Southern stars,
So far, and yet the nearest.

And Love, so gayly taunted,
Who died, no welcome granted,
Comes to me now, a pallid ghost,
By whom my life is haunted.

With bonds I may not sever,
He binds my heart forever,
And leads me where we murdered him, --
The Hill beside the River.

Camp Shaw, Florida, February, 1864.


Copyright 1897
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston