Amid my books I lived the hurrying years,
Disdaining kinship with my fellow man;
Alike to me were human smiles and tears,
I cared not whither Earth's great life-stream ran,
Till as I knelt before my mouldered shrine,
God made me look into a woman's eyes;
And I, who thought all earthly wisdom mine,
Knew in a moment that the eternal skies
Were measured but in inches, to the quest
That lay before me in that mystic gaze.
“Surely I have been errant; it is best
That I should tread, with men their human ways.”
God took the teacher, ere the task was learned,
And to my lonely books again I turned.
My lover died a century ago,
Her dear heart stricken by my sland'rous breath,
Wherefore the Gods forbade that I should know
The peace of death.
Men pass my grave, and say, “’Twere well to sleep,
Like such an one, amid the uncaring dead!”
How should they know the vigil that I keep,
The tears I shed?
Upon the grave, I count with lifeless breath,
Each night, each year, the flowers that bloom and die,
Deeming the leaves, that fall to dreamless death,
More blest than I.
’Twas just last year—I heard two lovers pass
So near, I caught the tender words he said:
To-night the rain-drenched breezes sway the grass
Above his head.
That night full envious of his life was I,
That youth and love should stand at his behest;
To-night, I envy him, that he should lie
At utter rest.