Puslapio vaizdai




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




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;


"But now by steam we run our race,
With buttoned heart and pocket;
Our Love's a gilded, surplus grace,-
Just like an empty locket!

"The time is out of joint.' Who will
May strive to make it better;
For me, this warm old window-sill,
And this old dusty letter."


"Dear John (the letter ran), it can't, can't be,
For Father's gone to Chorley Fair with Sam,
And Mother's storing Apples,-Prue and Me
Up to our Elbows making Damson Jam:
But we shall meet before a Week is gone,-
"Tis a long Lane that has no turning,' John!

"Only till Sunday next, and then you'll wait

Behind the White-Thorn, by the broken StileWe can go round and catch them at the Gate, All to Ourselves, for nearly one long Mile; Dear Prue won't look, and Father he'll go on, And Sam's two Eyes are all for Cissy, John!

"John, she's so smart,—with every Ribbon new, Flame-coloured Sack, and Crimson Padesoy: As proud as proud; and has the Vapours too, Just like My Lady;-calls poor Sam a Boy, And vows no Sweet-heart's worth the Thinking-on Till he's past Thirty . . . I know better, John!

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