(Suggested by the lives of Napoleon and Josephine.)
ONE night was full of rapture and delight--
Of reunited arms and swooning kisses,
And all the unnamed and unnumbered blisses
Which fond souls find in love of love at night.
Heart beat with heart, and each clung into each
With twining arms that did but loose their hold
To cling still closer; and fond glances told
These truths for which there is no uttered speech.
There was sweet laughter and endearing words,
Made broken by the kiss that could not wait,
And cooing sounds as of dear little birds
That in spring-time love and woo and mate.
And languid sighs that breathed of love's content
And all too soon this night of rapture went.
One night was full of anguish and of pain,
Of nerveless arms and mockery of kisses;
And those caresses where one sick heart misses
The quick response the other cannot feign.
Hands idly clasped and unclasped, and lost hold,
And the averted eyes that turned away,
And in whose depths no love nor longing lay,
The saddest of all truths too plainly told.
There was salt sorrow and the gall of tears,
Some useless words that ended in a moan,
And a dull dread of long unending years
When one must walk forever more alone.
Deep shuddering sighs told more than lips could say;
And the long night of sorrow wore away.
Custer and other poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
W. B. Conkey Company Chicago, Ill. (1896)
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