A Prisoner of Hope

To sit and watch in the lonely house1
Whence others have risen and gone their
So hush’d and still that the wainscot mouse3
Creeps out on my hearth to play :4
To hear the hurrying folk go by,5
Their echoing feet the silence fill6
The world is busy enough, but I7
In the midst of it all sit still !8
To wait, tho’ the tide runs far and fast,9
To share the story yet turn no page,10
To dwell in the hearth of a vanished Past11
With friends of a bygone age :12
The living about me come and go,13
But these have done with earth’s toils and
And I follow with faltering step and slow,15
In the wake of the tedious years.16
A broken weapon that’s flung aside,17
A worn-out tool for which none need care18
Sometimes I fancy I must have died19
And that only a ghost sits there !20
Yet the Dead no longer can feel the strain21
Of the nerveless hand and the powerless
And the weariness even worse than pain23
That comes when Life’s lamp burns dim !24
Often I think the hour of dawn,25
When the faint light glimmers on wall
and floor,
And the curtains of night are half withdrawn,27
Is the worst in the twenty-four !28
How long will it be ere the tardy gleam29
Of sunset fires the golden west ?30
Is is less hard then just to watch and dream31
When even the toilers rest.32
And when stars come out o’er the twilight sea33
There falls on my soul a peace profound,34
As I think of a Hand that once set free35
The Spirits in Prison bound :36
One day He will burst these bonds of mine37
And perchance there is good work yet un-
He is keeping for me in His Love divine39
In the Land beyond the Sun !40