Unseen Spirits

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Unseen Spirits
by Nathaniel Parker Willis

The shadows lay along Broadway,
   'Twas near the twilight tide,
And slowly there a lady fair
   Was walking in her pride —
Alone walked she, yet viewlessly
   Walked spirits at her side.

Peace charmed the street beneath her feet,
   And honour charmed the air,
And all astir looked kind on her
   And called her good as fair —
For all God ever gave to her
   She kept with chary care.

She kept with care her beauties rare
   From lovers warm and true,
For her heart was cold to all but gold,
   And the rich came not to woo.
Ah, honoured well are charms to sell
   When priests the selling do  !

Now, walking there was one more fair —
   A slight girl, lily-pale,
And she had unseen company
   To make the spirit quail —
'Twixt want and scorn she walked forlorn,
   And nothing could avail.

"No mercy now can clear her brow
   For this world's peace to pray —
For, as love's wild prayer dissolved in air,
   Her woman's heart gave way;
And the sin forgiven by Christ in heaven,
   By man is cursed alway.