Littell's Living Age/Volume 137/Issue 1770/Two Sonnets



I am, indeed, no theme with you for song —
A poet you, yet not for me your praise —
You crowned another woman with your bays,
Lifting your voice to heaven, triumphant, strong,
And fear by future rhymes to do her wrong:
If I should walk beside you in your ways
An echo would pursue us from old days,
And men would say, "He loved once, and for long!
So now without great love he is content,
Since she is dead for whom he used to sing,
And daily needs demand their aliment."
Thus some poor bird who strives with broken wing
To soar, then stoops, strength gone and glad life spent,
To any hand that his scant food will bring.


In after years a twilight ghost shall fill
With shadowy presence all thy waiting room —
From lips of air thou canst not kiss the bloom,
Yet at old kisses will thy pulses thrill,
And the old longing that thou couldst not kill,
Feeling her presence in the gathering gloom,
Will mock thee with the hopelessness of doom,
While she stands there and smiles, serene and still.
Thou canst not vex her then with passion's pain;
Call, and the silence will thy call repeat,
But she will smile there with cold lips and sweet,
Forgetful of old tortures, and the chain
That once she wore — the tears she wept in vain
At passing from her threshold of thy feet.

Louise Chandler Moulton.
Macmillan's Magazine.