The sweet maid, Day, has pillowed her head
On the breast of her dusky lover, Night;
The sun has made her a couch of red,
And woven a cover of dim twilight;
And the lover kisses the maiden's brow,
As low on her couch she sleepeth now.
Here at my window, above the street,
I sit, as the day lies in repose;
And I list to the ceaseless tramp of feet.
And I watch this human tide that flows,
Upward and downward, to and fro,
As the waves of an ocean, ebb and flow.
Over and over the busy town,
Hither and thither, through all the day;
One goes up, and another down--
Each in his own alloted way.
Strangers and kinsmen pass and meet,
And jar, and jostle upon the street.
People that never met before--
People that never will meet again:
A careless glance of the eye--no more,
And both are lost in the sea of men.
Strangers, divided by miles in heart,
Under my window meet and part.
But whether their feet pass up, or down,
Over the river, east or west,
Whether it's in or out of the town,
To a haunt of sin, or a home of rest,
We are journeying to a common goal--
There is one last point for every soul.
Strangers and kinsmen, friend and foe,
Whether their aims are great or small,
Whether their paths lie high, or low--
There is one last resting place for all.
Then upward, and downward, go surging by--
Under my window--you all must die.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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