The Wistful Lady

    ‘Love, while you were away there came to me —
        From whence I cannot tell —
    A plaintive lady pale and passionless,
    Who bent her eyes upon me critically,
    And weighed me with a wearing wistfulness,
        As if she knew me well.”

    “I saw no lady of that wistful sort
        As I came riding home.
    Perhaps she was some dame the Fates constrain
    By memories sadder than she can support,
    Or by unhappy vacancy of brain,
        To leave her roof and roam?”

    “Ah, but she knew me. And before this time
        I have seen her, lending ear
    To my light outdoor words, and pondering each,
    Her frail white finger swayed in pantomime,
    As if she fain would close with me in speech,
        And yet would not come near.

    “And once I saw her beckoning with her hand
        As I came into sight
    At an upper window. And I at last went out;
    But when I reached where she had seemed to stand,
    And wandered up and down and searched about,
        I found she had vanished quite.”

    Then thought I how my dead Love used to say,
        With a small smile, when she
    Was waning wan, that she would hover round
    And show herself after her passing day
    To any newer Love I might have found,
        But show her not to me.

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