The Old Homestead

THE wet trees hang above the walks
Purple with damps and earthish stains,
And strewn by moody, absent rains
With rose-leaves from the wild-grown stalks.
Unmown, in heavy, tangled swaths,
The ripe June-grass is wanton blown ;
Snails slime the untrodden threshold-stone,
Along the sills hang drowsy moths.
Down the blank visage of the wall,
Where many a wavering trace appears
Like a forgotten trace of tears,
From swollen eaves the slow drops crawl.
Where everything was wide before,
The curious wind, that comes and goes,
Finds all the latticed windows close,
Secret and close the bolted door.
And with the shrewd and curious wind,
That in the arched doorway cries,
And at the bolted portal tries,
And harks and listens at the blind,—
Forever lurks my thought about,
And in the ghostly middle-night
Finds all the hidden windows bright,
And sees the guests go in and out,—z
And lingers till the pallid dawn,
And feels the mystery deeper there
In silent, gust-swept chambers, bare,
With all the. midnight revel gone ;
But wanders through the lonesome rooms,
Where harsh the astonished cricket calls,
And, from the hollows of the walls
Vanishing, stare unshapen glooms ;
And lingers yet, and cannot come
Out of the drear and desolate place,
So full of ruin's solemn grace,
And haunted with the ghost of home.