Puslapio vaizdai
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OLD-WORLD IDYLLS.

B

A DEAD LETTER.

"A cœur blessé-l'ombre et le silence."

H. DE BALZAC.

I

I.

DREW it from its china tomb;

It came out feebly scented

With some thin ghost of past perfume
That dust and days had lent it.

An old, old letter,-folded still!
To read with due composure,
I sought the sun-lit window-sill,
Above the gray enclosure,

That glimmering in the sultry haze,
Faint-flowered, dimly shaded,

Slumbered like Goldsmith's Madam Blaize,
Bedizened and brocaded.

A queer old place! You'd surely say
Some tea-board garden-maker

Had planned it in Dutch William's day
To please some florist Quaker,

So trim it was.

The yew-trees still,

With pious care perverted,

Grew in the same grim shapes; and still
The lipless dolphin spurted;

Still in his wonted state abode
The broken-nosed Apollo;
And still the cypress-arbour showed
The same umbrageous hollow.

Only,-as fresh young Beauty gleams
From coffee-coloured laces,-

So peeped from its old-fashioned dreams
The fresher modern traces;

For idle mallet, hoop, and ball
Upon the lawn were lying;
A magazine, a tumbled shawl,

Round which the swifts were flying;

And, tossed beside the Guelder rose,
A heap of rainbow knitting,
Where, blinking in her pleased repose,
A Persian cat was sitting.

"A place to love in,—live,—for aye,

If we too, like Tithonus,

Could find some God to stretch the gray,

Scant life the Fates have thrown us;

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