Sights from My Window (1840)
by Rufus Wilmot Griswold

From Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, Volume 20 (1840)

193578Sights from My Window1840Rufus Wilmot Griswold

I sit beside my window,
And see the crowds go by,
With joy on every countenance,
And hope in every eye,
And hear their blended voices,
In many a shout and song,
Borne by the spring's soft breezes
Through all the streets along.

And peering through a lattice
Of a humble cottage near,
I see a face of beauty,
Adown which glides a tear,—
A rose amid her tresses
Tells that she would be gay,
But a thought of some deep sorrow
Drives every smile away.

She whom I see there weeping,
Few save myself do know,—
A flower in blooming blighted
By blasts of keenest wo.
She has a soul so gentle,
That as a harp it seems,
Which the light airs wake to music
Like that we hear in dreams.

A common fate is that poor girl's,
which many yet must share,—
In the crowd how little know they
What griefs its members bear!
One year ago a radiance
Like sunlight round her played,
Heart felt, eyes spoke of gladness,—
She was not then betrayed.

There was one of gentle manners,
Who e'er met her with a smile,
And a voice so full of kindness,
That she could not deem it guile,
And her trusting heart she gave him,—
She could give to him no more,—
Oh! daughter of the poor man,
Soon thy dream of bliss was o'er!

'T were vain to tell the story
Of fear, hope, and joyous passion;
She forgot her father's station,
He forsook the halls of fashion;
She loved him well-he knew it,—
'T was a pleasing interlude,
Fitting to enjoy more keenly
Scenes the poor might ne'er intrude.

Hark! the sound of music swelling!—
Now the crowd are rushing by,
Horses prancing, banners flying,
Shouts ascending to the sky:—
There's a sea of life beneath me,
And his form is there,—
For his fearful sin who spurns him?
On his brow what sign of care?

I see her now-she trembles—
There is phrensy in her eye;
Her blanched lip is quivering;
There is no good angel nigh;—
She falls,-the deep-toned bugle
Breaks on the quiet air;
Look to the calm blue heaven—
That sound-her soul-are there!

In the cavalcade she saw him,
In his plumes and armor drest,
And more closely to her bosom
His treasured gifts she prest;
Her eye met his-'t was finished—
Not a word my tongue was spoken;
A cold glance-a look of passion—
And her heart was broken!

How common are such histories,
In the cottage and the hall;
From prison bars how many eyes
Look on life's carnival!
The joys we seek are phantoms
That fade ere closed the hand
In the dark reached forth to grasp them,
But the brain receives their brand.