Rose Terry Cooke



Once Before

by Rose Terry Cooke

Sole she sat beside her window,
Hearing only rain-drops pour,
Looking only at the shore,
When, outside the little casement,
Weeping in a feigned abasement,
Love stood knocking --
Knocking at her bolted door.

Slow she swung the little casement
Where the Autumn roses glowed,
Sweet and sad her deep eyes showed;
And her voice, in gentlest measure,
Said aloud -- Nor Love, nor Pleasure
Can come in here any more --
Never, any more!

But I am not Love nor Pleasure --
I am but an orphan baby;
Lost, my mother is, or maybe
Dead she lies, while I am weeping,

Sobbed the child, his soft lie creeping
Softly through the bolted door --
Through the maiden's door.

Low she said, in accents lonely:
Once I let him in before,
Once I opened wide my door.
Ever since my life is dreary,
All my prayers are vague and weary;
Once I let him in before,
Now I'll double-lock the door!

In the rain he stands imploring;
Tears and kisses storm the door,
Where she let him in before.
Will she never know repenting?
Will she ever, late relenting,
Let him in, as once before?
Will she double-lock the door?


Copyright 1888
William S. Gottsberger
11 Murray Street
New York
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