ONLY A LINE

Only a line in the paper,
    That somebody read aloud,
At a table of languid boarders,
    To the dull indifferent crowd.

Markets and deaths--and a marriage:
    And the reader read them all.
How could he know a hope died then,
    And was wrapped in a funeral pall.

Only a line in the paper,
    Read in a casual way,
But the glow went out of one young life,
    And left it cold and grey.

Colder than bleak December,
    Greyer than walls of rock,
But the reader paused, and the room grew full
    Of laughter and idle talk.

If one slipped off to her chamber,
    Why, who could dream or know,
That one brief line in the paper
    Had sent her away with her woe?

Away into lonely sorrow,
    To bitter and blinding tears;
Only a line in the paper,
    But it meant such desolate years.

Yesterdays. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1916.


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