HER LAST LETTER

Sitting alone by the window,
   Watching the moonlit street,
Bending my head to listen
   To the well-known sound of your feet,
I have been wondering, darling,
   How I can bear the pain,
When I watch, with sighs and tear-wet eyes;
   And wait for your coming in vain.

For I know that a day approaches
   When your heart will tire of me;
When by door and gate I may watch and wait
   For a form I shall not see.
When the love that is now my heaven,
   The kisses that make my life,
You will bestow on another,
   And that other will be--your wife.

You will grow weary of sinning
   (Though you do not call it so),
You will long for a love that is purer
   Than the love that we two know.
God knows I have loved you dearly,
   With a passion strong as true;
But you will grow tired and leave me,
   Though I gave up all for you.

I was as pure as the morning
   When I first looked on your face;
I knew I never could reach you
   In your high, exalted place.
But I looked and loved and worshiped
   As a flower might worship a star,
And your eyes shone down upon me,
   And you seemed so far--so far.

And then? Well, then, you loved me,
   Loved me with all your heart;
But we could not stand at the altar,
   We were so far apart.
If a star should wed with a flower
   The star must drop from the sky,
Or the flower in trying to reach it
   Would droop on its stalk and die.

But you said that you loved me, darling,
   And swore by the heavens above
That the Lord and all of His angels
   Would sanction and bless our love.
And I? I was weak, not wicked.
   My love was as pure as true,
And sin itself seemed a virtue
   If only shared by you.

We have been happy together,
   Though under the cloud of sin,
But I know that the day approaches
   When my chastening must begin.
You have been faithful and tender,
   But you will not always be,
And I think I had better leave you
   While your thoughts are kind of me.

I know my beauty is fading--
   Sin furrows the fairest brow--
And I know that your heart will weary
   Of the face you smile on now.
You will take a bride to your bosom
   After you turn from me;
You will sit with your wife in the moonlight,
   And hold her babe on your knee.

Oh, God! I never could bear it;
   It would madden my brain, I know;
And so while you love me dearly
   I think I had better go.
It is sweeter to feel, my darling--
   To know as I fall asleep--
That some one will mourn me and miss me,
   That some one is left to weep,

Than to die as I should in the future,
   To drop in the street some day,
Unknown, unwept and forgotten
   After you cast me away.
Perhaps the blood of the Saviour
   Can wash my garments clean;
Perchance I may drink of the waters
   That flow through pastures green.

Perchance we may meet in heaven,
   And walk in the streets above,
With nothing to grieve us or part us
   Since our sinning was all through love.
God says, "Love one another,"
   And down to the depths of hell
Will he send the soul of a women
   Because she loved--and fell?

     *     *     *     *     *     *

And so in the moonlight he found her,
   Or found her beautiful clay,
Lifeless and pallid as marble,
   For the spirit had flown away.
The farewell words she had written
   She held to her cold, white breast,
And the buried blade of a dagger
   Told how she had gone to rest.

Kingdom of love and How Salvator won by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, W.B. Conkey company [1902].


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