One in Every Circle.

Full-body view of a woman standing in a darkened forest with her eyes turned down and her left hand raised to her collarbone. 3/4 page.
A girl with something of distress dimming her pensive eye,1
Who thinks the world must needs be cold to her, yet knows not why :2
The rapid beating of whose heart shakes not her quiet tone,3
Who smiles when others smile on her, but weepeth when alone ;4
Who pines beneath an unkind look, and shrinks appall’d from blame,5
As if the heart would cast her off from which the censure came ;6
Who longs intensely to be loved, but favour will not seek,7
And when affection is bestowed, believes the donor’s weak.8
Hast thou not seen her passing on through life with tranquil air,9
And brow so calm that none would think she knew the weight of care.10
She never was a gladsome child, and in her early years11
She often left the merry group, and stole away in tears.12
Her feet went bounding with the rest, she seemed as wild as they ;13
She sung their song of joyousness, she mingled in their play,14
But when the game was over, and their gushing hearts were glad,15
She left the happy throng unmissed, for dreams and musings sad.16
And so she was a lonely one, amid her playmates wild,17
And even in their ranks she stood an isolated child.18
Years have rolled on and left her thus, those brightest years below,19
When the heart’s pulse beats only joy—with her it is not so.20
She often seeks the sufferer’s couch, she dries the weeping eye ;21
She loves to tend a wretched one, to hush a broken sigh.22
And then her heart gives swelling throbs of tenderness and joy,23
And peace is in her look that nothing earthly can destroy ;24
But where there is a happy thing, a circle bright or gay,25
Her face grows pale and sorrowful, and soon she shrinks away.26
How strange ! She never feels beloved ; she deems herself unfit27
With joysome spirits to unite, and longs their ranks to quit.28
Some few, perchance, she dwells upon, and feeling wakes within29
A thrilling chord of anguish that their love she cannot win :30
And yet she never seeks it, there are some so bright and fair,31
So good and yet so sunny, she can never claim a share !32
She thinks if they were sorrowful, how she would press their hand ;33
If they were wan with suffering, how near them she would stand ;34
If ever they were friendless, then how faithful she would be,35
How she would stay to heal their wounds when others turned to flee.36
And if they learned to hang on her for solace or relief,37
If she had power to soothe their pains, to soften their deep grief,38
If circled in her arms they laid an aching head to rest,39
Oh, what a sense of ecstacy would satisfy her breast !40
But while their path is glad they do not need her love or aid,41
And she would give the world to live unnoticed in the shade.42
So in each joyful scene of earth her heart is overgrown43
With clinging things that snap in two, because they stand alone.44
Sweet tones, and ringing laughs, which seem to make all others glad,45
Are just the sounds below that fill her heart with thoughts most sad.46
Tears come,—she drives them back with smiles, keeps down a rising sigh,47
And sits as if with brainless head, and vacant dreamy eye,48
Till one, perchance the dearest there, some word at random flings49
In jesting mood, at sober looks, that all her nature stings ;50
And then her laugh sounds wild as theirs, as from the group she creeps ;51
And while they wonder where she is, she sits alone and weeps !52
Oh, hapless mould of human heart, destined its love to give,53
With judgment all too perfect, to the fairest things that live ;54
Yet feel the while so far beneath the objects that enchain55
Its fancy, that it never hopes to be beloved again !56
That writhes beneath a loveless look, that cannot love alone,—57
Yet when soft words are spoken, hears but kindness in their tone :58
Deems it impossible and strange, that warmer thing than this59
Can light on it, yet feels the while that more were perfect bliss.60
So turning shyly from the boon, in its mad unbelief,61
Sees it withdrawn, thinks all deserved, and spends itself with grief ;62
And still knows not the reason, feels itself a graceless thing,63
And so, belike, the precious gift again from it will fling.64
Ah ! who can tell the bitter griefs of such a lonely heart,—65
Few in this world can understand its agonizing smart !66
A swimming tear dried quickly up, and veiled beneath a smile ;67
A smothered sigh transformed into a wild air to beguile ;68
A silent mood made merry, and an earnest glancing eye69
Roving with feigned indifference, will tell the mystery.70
But only one of gentle mind with such a heart will stay,—71
Yet truly their reward is sweet who chase the gloom away !72