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The Old Garden
by [?]


The moon is dreaming upward
From a sea of cloud and gleam;
She looks as if she had seen me
Never but in a dream.

Down the stair I know she is coming,
Bare-footed, lifting her train;
It creaks not–she hears it creaking
Where once there was a brain.

Out at yon side-door she’s coming,
With a timid glance right and left;
Her look is hopeless yet eager,
The look of a heart bereft.

Across the lawn she is flitting,
Her thin gown feels the wind;
Are her white feet bending the grasses?
Her hair is lifted behind!


Shall I stay to look on her nearer?
Would she start and vanish away?
Oh, no, she will never see me,
Stand I near as I may!

It is not this wind she is feeling,
Not this cool grass below;
‘Tis the wind and the grass of an evening
A hundred years ago.

She sees no roses darkling,
No stately hollyhocks dim;
She is only thinking and dreaming
The garden, the night, and him,

The unlit windows behind her,
The timeless dial-stone,
The trees, and the moon, and the shadows
A hundred years agone!

‘Tis a night for a ghostly lover
To haunt the best-loved spot:
Is he come in his dreams to this garden?
I gaze, but I see him not.


I will not look on her nearer,
My heart would be torn in twain;
From my eyes the garden would vanish
In the falling of their rain.

I will not look on a sorrow
That darkens into despair,
On the surge of a heart that cannot
Yet cannot cease to bear.

My soul to hers would be calling:
She would hear no word it said!
If I cried aloud in the stillness
She would never turn her head!

She is dreaming the sky above her,
She is dreaming the earth below:–
This night she lost her lover
A hundred years ago.