The New Penelope/Moonlight Memories
Do thy chamber windows open east,
Beloved, as did ours of old?
And do you stand when day has ceased,
Withdrawn thro' evening's porch of gold,
And watch the pink flush fade above
The hills on which the wan moon leans,
Remembering the sweet girlish love
That blest this hour in other scenes!
I see your hand upon your heart—
I see you dash away the tears—
It is the same undying smart,
That touched us in the long-gone years;
And cannot pass away. You stand
Your forehead to the window crest,
And stifle sobs that no command
Can keep from rising in your breast.
Dear, balm is not for griefs like ours,
Nor resurrection for dead hope:
In vain we cover wounds with flowers,
That grow upon life's western slope.
Their leaves tho' bright, are hard, and dry,
They have no soft and healing dew;
The pansies of past spring-times lie
Dead in the shadow of the yew.
You feel this in your heart, and turn
To pace the dimness of your room;
But lo, like fire within an urn,
The moonlight glows through all the gloom.
It sooths you like a living touch,
And spite of the slow-falling tears,
Sweet memories crowd with oh, so much,
Of all that girlhood's time endears.
On nights like this, with such a moon,
Full shining in a wintry sky;
Or on the softer nights of June,
When fleecy clouds fled thought-like by,
Within our chamber opening east,
With curtains from the window parted,
With hands and cheeks together prest,
We dreamed youth's glowing dreams, light-hearted.
Or talked of that mysterious love
That comes like fate to every soul:
And vowed to hold our lives above,
Perchance its sorrowful control.
Alas, the very vow we made,
To keep our lives from passion free,
To wiser hearts well had betrayed
Some future love's intensity.
How well that youthful vow was kept,
Is written on a deathless page—
Vain all regrets, vain tears we've wept,
The record lives from age to age.
But one who "doeth all things well,"
Who made us differ from the throng,
Has it within his heart to quell
This torturing pain of thirst, ere long.
And you, whose soul is all aglow
With fire Prometheus brought from heaven,
Shall in some future surely know
Joys for which high desires are given.
Not always in a restless pain
Shall beat your heart, or throb your brow;
Not always shall you sigh in vain
For hope's fruition, hidden now.
Beloved, are your tear-drops dried?
The moon is riding high above:—
Though each from other's parted wide,
We have not parted early love.
And tho' you never are forgot,
The moonrise in the east shall be
The token that my evening thought
Returns to home, and love and thee!