All suddenly between me and the light,
That brightly shone, and warm,
Robed in the pall-like garments of the night,
There rose a shadowy form.
"Stand back," I said; "you quite obscure the sun;
What do you want with me?"
"Dost thou not know, then?" quoth the mystic one;
"Look on my face and see!"
I looked, and, lo! it was my old despair,
Robed in a new disguise;
In blacker garments than it used to wear,
But with the same sad eyes.
So ghostly were the memories it awoke,
I shrank in fear away.
"Nay, be more kind," 'twas thus the dark shape spoke,
"For I have come to stay.
"So long thy feet have trod on sunny heights,
Such joys thy heart has known,
Perchance thou hast forgotten those long nights,
When we two watched alone.
"Though sweet and dear the Pleasures thou hast met,
And comely to thine eye,
Has one of them, in all that bright throng yet,
Been half so true as I?
"And that last rapture which ensnared thee so
With pleasure twin to pain,
It was the swiftest of them all to go---
But I---I will remain.
"Again we two will live a thousand years,
In desperate nights of grief,
That shall refuse the bitter balm of tears,
For thy bruised heart's relief.
"Again we two will watch the hopeless dawn
Creep up a lonely sky---
Again we'll urge the drear day to be gone,
Yet dread to see it die.
"Nay, shrink not from me, for I am thy friend,
One whom the Master sent;
And I shall help thee, ere we reach the end,
To find a great content.
"And I will give thee courage to attain,
The heights supremely fair,
Wherein thou'lt cry, 'How blessèd was my pain!
How God sent my despair!'"
Poetical works of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Edinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay, & Mitchell, 1917.
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