At Forty-eight

At twilight, vis-a-vis with fate,
  She sat, unhappy and alone,
Her milestones numbered forty-eight,
  No other pathway crossed her own.

No tender voice robbed age of gloom,
  No smiling faces cheered her sight.
There only glided through the room
  The phantom of a dead delight.

"How dim and drear the pathway seems,"
  She said, "to me at forty-eight;
Long since I wakened from my dreams--
  I seek for naught, for nothing wait.

"I am like one who blindly gropes
  Toward fading sunsets in the west;
Behind me lie youth's shattered hopes:
  What can I ask for now but rest?

"Some joys I sought with heart on fire
  Would find me now, but all too late--
I watched ambition's funeral pyre
  Burn down ere I was forty-eight.

"With naught to hope, expect or win;
  This lonely lot remains to me,
To count the wrecks of what 'Has been'
  And know that nothing more can be."

Too sad to weep, to tired to pray;
  Alone she sat at forty-eight,
While sunset colors paled to gray--
  How desolate, how desolate!

--Ella Wheeler Wilcox in Frank Leslie's.
The Times-Democrat [New Orleans] 7 Sept. 1885: 7.

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