Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/228

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visiting New York, he was given a room, with the same number, in another hotel.

In his scrap book, written on a sheet of hotel note paper, under the date of February 24, 1880, is an unfinished poem, in blank verse, entitled:


I do not know the meaning of the sign,
But bend before its power, as a reed bends
When the black tornado fills the valley to the lips.
Three times in twenty years its shape has come
In lines of fire on the black veil of mystery;
At first, tho' strange, it seemed familiar,
And lingered on the mind as if at rest;
The second time it flashed a thrill came, too.
For supernature spoke, or tried to speak;
The third time, like a blow upon the eyes,
It stood before me, as a page might say
"Read, read,—and do not call for other warning."

I do not know,—O Mystery, the word
Is lost on senses too impure. I stand
And shrink subdued before the voice that speaks,
And know not that its word is light or gloom.

John Boyle O'Reilly.

The fancy seems to have been nothing more than a fancy born of three singular coincidences. Most men of vivid imagination are apt to look for presentiments in coincidences, and to laugh with satisfaction, as he did, when the foreboding proved to be false.