Pieces People Ask For/The House in the Meadow
THE HOUSE IN THE MEADOW.
It stands in a sunny meadow,
The house so mossy and brown,
With its cumbrous old stone chimneys,
And the gray roof sloping down.
The trees fold their green arms round it,—
The trees a century old;
And the winds go chanting through them,
And the sunbeams drop their gold.
The cowslips spring in the marshes,
The roses bloom on the hill,
And beside the brook in the pasture
The herds go feeding at will.
Within, in the wide old kitchen
The old folks sit in the sun
That creeps through the sheltering woodbine
Till the day is almost done.
Their children have gone and left them;
They sit in the sun alone,
And the old wife's ears are failing
As she harks to the well-known tone
That won her heart in her girlhood,
That has soothed her in many a care,
And praises her now for the brightness
Her old face used to wear.
She thinks again of her bridal,—
How, dressed in her robe of white,
She stood by her gay young lover
In the morning's rosy light.
Oh, the morning is rosy as ever,
But the rose from her cheek is fled;
And the sunshine still is golden,
But it falls on a silvered head.
And the girlhood dreams, once vanished,
Come back in her winter-time,
Till her feeble pulses tremble
With the thrill of springtime's prime.
And, looking forth from the window,
She thinks how the trees have grown
Since, clad in her bridal whiteness,
She crossed the old door-stone.
Though dimmed her eye's bright azure,
And dimmed her hair's young gold,
The love in her girlhood plighted
Has never grown dim or old.
They sat in peace in the sunshine
Till the day was almost done.
And then, at its close, an angel
Stole over the threshold stone.
He folded their hands together,
He touched their eyelids with balm,
And their last breath floated outward,
Like the close of a solemn psalm.
Like a bridal pair they traversed
The unseen, mystical road
That leads to the Beautiful City
Whose Builder and Maker is God.
Perhaps in that miracle country
They will give her lost youth back,
And the flowers of the vanished springtime
Will bloom in the spirit's track.
One draught from the living waters
Shall call back his manhood's prime;
And eternal years shall measure
The love that outlasted time.