by Robert Laurence Binyon
O you that facing the mirror darkly bright
In the shadowed corner, loiter shyly fond,
To ask of your own sad eyes a comfort slight,
Before you brave the pathless world beyond;
Not first to--night invades your spirit this wild
Despair, when loneliness stabs you! Turned, your face
Trembles, and soft hesitation makes you a child,
The child you were in some far, forgotten place,
Amid things for ever rejected. Dreamed you so
From the blankness of life to escape to a region enjoyed,
Glowing, and strange? Yet blank to--night, I know,
Spreads life, my sister; within you a deeper void.
In all this city, I think, so charged with pain,
None suffers more; desiring what you do
With insupportable longing, and still in vain
Desiring, still condemned to accept, and rue.
Where tarries he, Love, the adored one? In fields unknown
Roams he apart, or in sound of a pleasant stream
Sleeps? Nay, dwells he in cloudy rumour alone,
A name, a vision, a sweet, eluding dream?
He lives, he lives, my sister; yet rarely to men
He appears; they touch but his robe, and believe it is he.
But soft, with inaudible feet, he is flown, nor again
Comes soon; rejoicing still to be wayward and free.
A moment, ev'n now, he was near you: invisible wings
Brushed by you; and infinite longing, to follow, to find
That vision truth, overcomes you,--the heart's sad things
To tell in a trusted ear, on a bosom kind.
Alas! not so he is won: when the last despair
Encamps in the heart, at last when all seems vain,
Then, perchance, he will steal to you unaware,
And loose your tears, and understand your pain.
Last updated January 14, 2019