“ After Many Days.


In autumn’s silent twilight, sad and sweet,1
O love, no longer mine, alone I stand ;2
Listening, I seem to hear dear phantom feet3
Pass by me down the golden wave-worn strand :4
I think of things that were and things that be,5
I hear the soft low ripples of the sea6
That to my thoughts responsive music beat.7


My heart is very sad to-night and chill,8
But hush’d in awe, as his who turns and feels9
A mournful rapture through his being thrill,10
When music, sweet and slumb’rous, softly steals11
Down the deep calm of some cathedral nave ;12
Then swells and throbs and breaks as does a wave,13
And slowly ebbs, and all again is still.14


And is it only five years since, O love,15
That we in this old place stood side by side,16
Where in the twilight once again I move ?17
Is this the same shore wash’d by the same tide ?18
My heart recalls the past a little space,19
The sweet and the irrevocable days ;20
I knew not then how bitter life might prove.21


I lov’d you then, and shall love till I die ;22
Your way of life is fair, it should be so,23
And I am glad, though in dark years gone by24
Hard thoughts of you I had ; but now I know25
A fairer and a softer path was meet26
For treading of your dainty maiden feet :27
Your life must blossom ’neath a summer sky.28


The twilight, like a sleep, creeps on the day,29
And like dark dreams the night creeps on that sleep ;30
If you should come again in the old way31
And look from pensive tender eyes and deep32
Upon me, as you look’d in days of old33
If my hand should again of yours take hold,34
How should I feel, and what thing should I say ?35


Ah, sweet days flown shall never come again,36
That happy summer time shall not return37
When we two stood beside this peaceful main,38
And saw at eve the rising billows yearn39
With passion to the moon, and heard afar,40
Across the waves, and ’neath the first warm star,41
From ships at sea some sweet remember’d strain.42


I can recall the day when first we met,43
And how the burning summer sunlight fell44
Across the sea ; nor, love, do I forget45
How, underneath that summer noontide spell,46
We saw afar the white-sail’d vessels glide47
As phantom ships upon a waveless tide,48
Whose shining calm no breezes come to fret.49


And shall I blame you, sweet, because you chose50
A softer path of life than mine could be ?51
I keep our secret here, and no man knows52
What pass’d five years ago ’twixt you and me53
Two loves begotten at the self-same time,54
When that gold summer tide was in its prime :55
One love lives yet, and one died with the rose.56


I work and live and take my part in things,57
And so my life goes on from day to day ;58
Fruitless the summers, seedless all the springs,59
To him who feels December one with May :60
The night is not more dreary than the sun,61
Not sadder is the twilight, dim and dun,62
Than dawn that, still returning, shines and sings,63


Fed with wet scent of hills, through growing shades,64
To the white water’s edge the wind moans down ;65
The lapping tide steals on, while daylight fades,66
And fills the caves with shells and seaweed brown.67
Ah, wild sea-beaten coast, more dear to me68
Than fairest scenes of that fair land could be69
Where warm Italian suns steep happy glades !70


Farewell, familiar scene, for I ascend71
The jagged path that led me to the shore ;72
Farewell to cliff, cave, inlet—each a friend ;73
My parting steps shall visit ye no more :74
Dear are ye all when soft light steals through gloom,75
Here had my joy its birth—here found its tomb76
Here love began, and here one love had end.77