The Two Portraits.

Black-mantled Night o’er-rides the hills,1
Each festive guest is gone ;2
No voice is heard, no living sound,—3
I sit and weep alone.4
A guilty, discontented wretch,5
I wear my life away ;6
All day I sigh for night’s return,7
All night I pray for day.8
Yet oft I dream that once a heart9
Responded to mine own :10
I see a form—l hear a voice,11
With music in its tone.12
No costly gold, or star-like gems,13
Oppress my aching head :14
But midst the bright curls of my hair15
Are buds and flowers instead.16
I sit beside a cottage door,17
Beneath a mantling vine ;18
I feel the kind touch of a hand19
Which gently presses mine.20
A thousand tender, happy thoughts,21
Within me softly rise ;22
The warm blush rushes to my cheek,23
The tear-drop dims mine eyes.24
I smile with rapturous delight,25
I sigh with blissful pain ;26
I hear low whispered words of love,27
And utter them again.28
The dark and weary things which are29
Yield to the things which seem :30
There never comes a shade of woe31
To cloud that happy dream.32
The end too soon, too soon arrives,33
Another form is there ;34
A bridal ring is on my hand,35
And in my heart despair.36
The things which are resume their sway,37
Mine inmost soul is bowed38
By fell regrets, and haunting fears,39
Which o’er it darkly crowd.40
Two portraits still that dream renew ;41
One face is young and fair,42
With marble brow, Endymion-like,43
And dark luxuriant hair.44
The other mean, and shrunk, and old,45
No limner’s magic art46
Could to the red and low’ring eye47
One ray of soul impart.48
And when that withering look I meet,49
I curse my wayward fate ;50
And when on that loved shade I gaze51
I sigh, “ Too late ! too late !”52