THE SHADOW OF A LIFE POEM
There's a face that beclouds like a shadow my pathway at morn and eve,
There's a form that glides before me which my eyes can never leave,
When I pore above the hearth and heavy thoughts my bosom fill,
I start like a sleeper from dreaming, for it's standing beside me still.
When I stroll in the gloom of the evening is that figure before me cast
With its strange and measured footfall, like the shadow of something past,
All through my summer wandering does it darken the light of the sun,
And it sits like a phantom to mock me when the work of the day is done.
It is ever present with me like an overhanging blight,
Thro' the heaviness of morning and the wakefulness of night,
When I bend within my chamber in the attitude of prayer--
With a look of wrapt devotion is it kneeling--kneeling there.
There's a strangeness in its features, there's a horror in its eye,
There's a sadness in its visage like the tremour of a sigh,
And as silently as ever it precedes me thro' the day
While I long for the hush of midnight ere its hours have passed away.
Oh when shall that figure leave me, are its terrors to haunt me still
Like the ever deepening twilight in the valley o'er the hill?
And its wild and ill forebodings--must they--can they never cease?
When its shadow rests above me, is there none to whisper peace?
Is there no one that can soothe me? Is there no one that can save?
No, that figure still must haunt me and shall haunt me to my grave,
From my cradle to my coffin is that vision doomed to be
A scare of Hell and darkness--a thing of terror unto me!