I SIT and muse beside the faded coals,
While night and silence hold their mystic sway,
And while the world, with all its freight of souls,
Wheels on through darkness to another day!
Across my spirit ghostly fancies creep: . . .
Who shall dare prophesy to-morrow’s light?
What if uncounted thousands, while they sleep,
Are trembling on eternity to-night?
And still they haunt my heart, these dreams forlorn,
Vague bats of fear that sunshine would dismay;
Though myriads of to-morrows have been born,
What if the last had perished with to-day?
But no! the ancient ordinance yet reigns. . . .
Hours afterward, while seated wakeful here,
I dimly see, along my casement panes,
The first pale dubious glimmerings appear.
Once more the old fated ways of earth begin:
Some glad girl somewhere will soon wake and say,
While blushing, from chaste forehead to sweet chin,
One lovely rose, “It is my wedding-day!”
And in some prison-cell, perchance even now,
Some haggard captive from his sleep is drawn,
To hear them, while cold sweat-drops bead his brow,
Nailing a scaffold in the ghastly dawn!
Edgar Fawcett.