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    SAVED.   Table of Contents     INFELIX.

Menken, Adah Isaacs
Infelicia

- INFELICIA.
- ANSWER ME.


ANSWER ME.

I.


In from the night;
The storm is lifting his black arms up to the sky.
Friend of my heart, who so gently marks out the life
track for me, draw near to-night;
Forget the wailing of the low-voiced wind:
Shut out the meanings of the freezing, and the starving,
and the dying, and bend your head low to me:
Clasp my cold, cold hands in yours;
Think of me tenderly and lovingly:
Look down into my eyes the while I question you, and
if you love me, answer me--
oh, answer me!

II.


Is there not a gleam of Peace on all this tiresome earth?
Does not one oasis cheer all this desert-world?
When will all this toil and pain bring me the blessing?
Must I ever plead for help to do the work before me set?
Must I ever stumble and faint by the dark wayside?
Oh the dark,lonely wayside, with its dim-sheeted ghosts
peering up through their shallow graves!
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Must I ever tremble and pale at the great Beyond?
Must I find Rest only in your bosom, as now I do?
Answer me--
Oh, answer me!

III.


Speak to me tenderly.
Think of me lovingly.
Let your soft hands smooth back my hair.
Take my cold, tear-stained face up to yours.
Let my lonely life creep into your warm bosom, knowing
no other rest but this.
Let me question you, while sweet Faith and Trust are
folding their white robes around me.
Thus am I purified, even to your love, that came like
John the Baptist in the Wildernesses of Sin.
You read the starry heavens, and lead me forth.
But tell me if, in this world's Judea, there comes never
quiet when once the heart awakes?
Why must it ever hush Love back?
Must it only labor, strive, and ache?
Has it no reward but this?
Has it no inheritance but to bear--and break?
Answer me--
Oh, answer me!

IV.


The Storm struggles with the Darkness.
Folded away in your arms, how little do I heed their
battle
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The trees clash in vain their naked swords against the
door.
I go not forth while the low murmur of your voice is
drifting all else back to silence.
The darkness presses his black forehead close to the
window pane, and beckons me without.
Love holds a lamp in this little room that hath power
to blot back Fear.
But will the lamp ever starve for oil?
Will its blood-red flame ever grow faint and blue?
Will it appear itself to a slender line of light?
Will it grow pallid and motionless?
Will it sink rayless to everlasting death?
Answer me--
Oh, answer me!

V.


Look at these tear-drops
See how they quiver and die on your open hands.
Fold these white garments close to my breast, while I
question you.
Would you have me think that from the warm shelter
of your heart I must go to the grave?
And when I am lying in my silent shroud, will you love
me?
When I am buried down in the cold, wet earth, will
you grieve that you did not save me?
Will your tears reach my pale face through all the
withered leaves that will heap themselves upon my grave?
Will you repent that you loosened your arms to let me
fall so deep, and so far out of sight?
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Will you come and tell me so, when the coffin has shut
out the storm?
Answer me--
Oh, answer me!
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    SAVED.   Table of Contents     INFELIX.