Bush, Olivia Ward
Mid parted clouds, all silver-edged,
A gleam of fiery gold,
A dash of crimson-varied hues,
The Sunset Story's told.
A mirrored lake 'tween mossy banks,
A lofty mountain ridge,
A cottage nestling in the vale
Seen from a ruined bridge.
A woman longing to discern
Beyond the gleam of gold
A rush of memory, a sigh,
And Life's strange tale is told.
I said a thoughtless word one day,
A loved one heard and went away;
I cried: "Forgive me, I was blind;
I would not wound or be unkind."
I waited long, but all in vain,
To win my loved one back again.
Too late, alas! to weep and pray,
Death came; my loved one passed away.
Then, what a bitter fate was mine!
No language could my grief define;
Ah! deep regret could not unsay
The thoughtless word I spoke that day.
I stood in the doorway at evening,
And I looked to the hills far away
Where the sun's last rays seemed to linger,
Ere they faded in brilliant display.
Yes, lingered in beautiful splendor,
And the scene was rare to behold,
A pale blue sky was its back-ground,
With stretches of pink and gold.
What wonder that Nature's rare beauty
So inspires the soul and thrills
Our beings with tender emotions,
As we look far away to the hills!
To the "hills" of which "David" has spoken,
"From whence comes my help," said he,
And we have the same blest assurance,
As we gaze on their majesty.
And we think of the Power who formed them,
They seem like a tower of defence
To protect and to ward off the evil
Until we depart and go hence;
Where the sunlight fades not, but lingers,
And to-night my waiting soul thrills
As I stand in the doorway at sunset,
As I look far away to the hills.
Beneath Misfortune's dark and heavy cloud,
My heart sore wounded, unsubmissive bowed,
Hope after hope within me paled and died,
Until indifference and sullen pride
Usurped my nature's usual warmth and glow
And made Ambition's fire burn dim and low;
And then the world, in worldly wisdom said,
T'were better far that such a life be dead,
Than living thus, so selfish cold and drear,
Ambitionless, devoid of warmth and cheer.
And yet this comfort still remained for me;
The Finite differs from Infinity,
God understands, so I indeed am blest,
He knows it all/ and knowing, judges best.
I turned the pages of my book,
With nervous haste and heedless care,
I searched impatiently to find
Some favorite verses written there.
At last upon the book's first page
I found the lines for which I sought,
But in my haste, had overlooked
And suddenly there came this thought,
How oft for some much-needed thing
We ask the Father o'er and o'er,
When, Lo! by simple faith and trust
We find the blessing at our door.
Within my soul, like flames of living fire,
I feel the burning heat of strong desire
And, speeding like full many an arrow's dart,
Thought after thought swift courses through my heart,
I seize my pen with eager fond delight,
Breathe on, sweet Muse of song, that I may write.
I stand upon the haunted plain
Of vanished day and year,
And ever o'er its gloomy waste
Some strange, sad voice I hear.
Some voice from out the shadowed Past;
And one I call Regret,
And one I know is Misspent Hours,
Whose memory lingers yet.
Then Failure speaks in bitter tones,
And Grief, with all its woes;
Remorse, whose deep and cruel stings
My painful thoughts disclose.
Thus do these voices speak to me,
And flit like shadows past;
My spirit falters in despair,
And tears flow thick and fast.
But when, within the wide domain
Of Future Day and Year
I stand, and o'er its sunlit Plain
A sweeter word I hear,
Which bids me leave the darkened Past
And crush its memory,--
I'll hasten to obey the Voice