Ebooks, Fiction, Non-Fiction 1000s of Free books and stories online to read now ~ Main Page




Andenken, Through the silent streets of the city,


  Through the silent streets of the city,
  In the night's unbusy noon,
  Up and down in the pallor
  Of the languid summer moon,

  I wander and think of the village,
  And the house in the maple-gloom,
  And the porch with the honeysuckles
  And the sweet-brier all abloom.

  My soul is sick with the fragrance
  Of the dewy sweet-brier's breath:
  Oh, darling! the house is empty,
  And lonesomer than death!

  If I call, no one will answer;
  If I knock, no one will come;—
  The feet are at rest forever,
  And the lips are cold and dumb.

  The summer moon is shining
  So wan and large and still,
  And the weary dead are sleeping
  In the graveyard under the hill.


  We looked at the wide, white circle
  Around the autumn moon,
  And talked of the change of weather,—
  It would rain, to-morrow, or soon.

  And the rain came on the morrow,
  And beat the dying leaves
  From the shuddering boughs of the maples
  Into the flooded eaves.

  The clouds wept out their sorrow;
  But in my heart the tears
  Are bitter for want of weeping,
  In all these autumn years.


  It is sweet to lie awake musing
  On all she has said and done,
  To dwell on the words she uttered,
  To feast on the smiles I won,

  To think with what passion at parting
  She gave me my kisses again,—
  Dear adieux, and tears and caresses,—
  Oh, love! was it joy or pain?

  To brood, with a foolish rapture,
  On the thought that it must be
  My darling this moment is waking
  With tenderest thoughts of me!

  O sleep I are thy dreams any sweeter?
  I linger before thy gate:
  We must enter at it together,
  And my love is loath and late.


  The bobolink sings in the meadow,
  The wren in the cherry-tree:
  Come hither, thou little maiden,
  And sit upon my knee;

  And I will tell thee a story
  I read in a book of rhyme;—
  I will but feign that it happened
  To me, one summer-time,

  When we walked through the meadow,
  And she and I were young;—
  The story is old and weary
  With being said and sung.

  The story is old and weary;—
  Ah, child! is it known to thee?
  Who was it that last night kissed thee
  Under the cherry-tree?


  Like a bird of evil presage,
  To the lonely house on the shore
  Came the wind with a tale of shipwreck,
  And shrieked at the bolted door,

  And flapped its wings in the gables,
  And shouted the well-known names,
  And buffeted the windows
  Afeard in their shuddering frames.

  It was night, and it is daytime,—
  The morning sun is bland,
  The white-cap waves come rocking, rocking,
  In to the smiling land.

  The white-cap waves come rocking, rocking,
  In the sun so soft and bright,
  And toss and play with the dead man
  Drowned in the storm last night.


  I remember the burning brushwood,
  Glimmering all day long
  Yellow and weak in the sunlight,
  Now leaped up red and strong,

  And fired the old dead chestnut,
  That all our years had stood,
  Gaunt and gray and ghostly,
  Apart from the sombre wood;

  And, flushed with sudden summer,
  The leafless boughs on high
  Blossomed in dreadful beauty
  Against the darkened sky.

  We children sat telling stories,
  And boasting what we should be,
  When we were men like our fathers,
  And watched the blazing tree,

  That showered its fiery blossoms,
  Like a rain of stars, we said,
  Of crimson and azure and purple.
  That night, when I lay in bed,

  I could not sleep for seeing,
  Whenever I closed my eyes,
  The tree in its dazzling splendor
  Against the darkened skies.

  I cannot sleep for seeing,
  With closed eyes to-night,
  The tree in its dazzling splendor
  Dropping its blossoms bright;

  And old, old dreams of childhood
  Come thronging my weary brain.
  Dear foolish beliefs and longings;—
  I doubt, are they real again?

  It is nothing, and nothing, and nothing,
  That I either think or see;—
  The phantoms of dead illusions
  To-night are haunting me.