Littell's Living Age/Volume 144/Issue 1856/A Folded Leaf
A Folded LeafEdit
A folded page, old, stained, and blurred,
I found within your book last night.
I did not read the dim dark word
I saw in the slow-waning light;
So put it back, and left it there,
As if in truth I did not care.
Ah! we have all a folded leaf
That in Time's book of long ago
We leave: a half-relief
Falls on us when we hide it so.
We fold it down, then turn away,
And who may read that page to-day?
Not you, my child; nor you, my wife,
Who sit beside my study chair;
For all have something in their life
That they, and they alone, may bear —
A trifling lie, a deadly sin,
A something bought they did not win.
My folded leaf! how blue eyes gleam
And blot the dark-brown eyes I see;
And golden curls at evening beam
Above the black locks at my knee!
Ah me! that leaf is folded down,
And aye for me the locks are brown.
And yet I love them who sit by,
My best and dearest — dearest now.
They may not know for what I sigh,
What brings the shadow on my brow.
Ghosts at the best; so let them be,
Nor come between my life and me.
They only rise at twilight hour;
So light the lamp, and close the blind.
Small perfume lingers in the flower
That sleeps that folded page behind.
So let it ever folded lie;
'Twill be unfolded when I die.