"I think I hear the sound of horses' feet,
Beating upon the gravelled avenue.
Go to the window that looks on the street!
He would not let me die, alone, I knew!"
Back to the couch the patient watcher passed,
And said, "It is the wailing of the blast."
She turned upon her couch, and seeming, slept,
The long, dark lashes, shadowing her cheek.
And on, and on, the weary moments crept,
When suddenly the watcher heard her speak,
"I think I hear the sound of horses' hoofs!"
And answered, "'Tis the rain, upon the roofs."
Unbroken silence: quiet, deep, profound.
The restless sleeper turns. "How dark! how late!
What is it that I hear--that trampling sound?
I think there is a horseman at the gate!"
The watcher turns away her eyes, tear-blind.
"It is the shutter, beating in the wind."
The dread night passed. The patient clock ticked on.
The weary watcher moved not from her place.
The gray, dun shadows of the early dawn,
Caught sudden glory, from the sleeper's face.
"He comes! my love! I knew he would!" she cried,
And, smiling sweetly in her slumbers, died.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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