Poems (Coates 1916)/Volume I/The Empty House

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For works with similar titles, see The Empty House.
For other versions of this work, see The Empty House (Coates).


I SEEMED to see thy spirit leave the clay
That was its mortal tenement of late;
I seemed to see it falter at the gate
Of the New Life, as seeking to obey
Some inner law, yet doubtful of the way
Provided for its passage, by that fate
Which makes birth pain, and gives to death such state
And dignity, when soul withdraws its sway.

A tremor of the pale and noble brow,
A tightening of the lips, and thou wast gone—
Gone?—whither? Ah, the hush of death's abyss!
All tenantless thy beauteous form lay now
As the cicada's fragile shell outgrown,
Or as the long-forsaken, lonely chrysalis.