At Even-Tide

C. N.--Died April, 1857.

What spirit is it that doth pervade
The silence of this empty room?
And as I lift my eyes, what shade
Glides off and vanishes in gloom?

I could believe this moment gone,
A known form filled that vacant chair,
That those kind eyes upon me shone
I never shall see anywhere!

The living are so far away:
But thou--thou seemest strangely near;
Knowest all my silent heart would say,
Its peace, its pain, its hope, its fear.

And from thy calm supernal height,
And wondrous wisdom newly won,
Smilest on all our poor delight,
And petty woe beneath the sun.

From all this coil thou hast slipped away,
As softly as a cloud departs
Along the hillside purple gray--
Into the heaven of patient hearts.

Nothing here suffered, nothing missed,
Will ever stir from its repose
The death-smile on her lips unkissed,
Who all things loves and all things knows.

And I, who, ignorant and weak,
Of love so helpless--quick to pain,
With restless longing ever seek
The unattainable in vain,

Find it strange comfort thus to sit
While the loud world unheeded rolls,
And clasp, ere yet the fancy flit,
A friend's hand from the land of souls.

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