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The Lady of La Garaye. Norton, Caroline Sheridan, 1808–1877.
page: 91



  • HOW Memory haunts us! When we fain would be
  • Alone and free,
  • Uninterrupted by his mournful words,
  • Faint, indistinct, as are a wind‐harp’s chords
  • Hung on a leafless tree,—
  • He will not leave us: we resolve in vain
  • To chase him forth—for he returns again,
  • Pining incessantly!
  • In the old pathways of our lost delights
  • page: 92
  • He walks on sunny days and starlit nights,
  • Answering our restless moan,
  • With,—“I am here alone,
  • My brother Joy is gone—for ever gone!
  • Round your decaying home
  • The Spring indeed is come,
  • The leaves are thrilling with a sense of life,
  • The sap of flowers is rife,
  • But where is Joy, Heaven’s messenger,—bright Joy,—
  • That curled and radiant boy,
  • Who was the younger brother of my heart?
  • Why let ye him whom I so loved depart?
  • Call him once more,
  • And let us all be glad, as heretofore!”
  • Then, urged and stung by Memory, we go forth,
  • And wander south and north,
  • page: 93
  • Deeming Joy may yet answer to our yearning;
  • But all is blank and bare:
  • The silent air
  • Echoes no pleasant shout of his returning.
  • Yet somewhere—somewhere, by the pathless woods,
  • Or silver rippling floods,
  • He wanders as he wandered once with us;
  • Through bright arcades of cities populous;
  • Or else in deserts rude,
  • Happy in solitude,
  • And choosing only Youth to be his mate,
  • He leaves us to our fate.
  • We hear his distant laughter as we go,
  • Pacing, ourselves, with Woe,—
  • Both us he hath outstripped for evermore!
  • Seek him not in the wood,
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  • Where the sweet ring‐doves ever murmuring brood;
  • Nor on the hill, nor by the golden shore:
  • Others inherit that which once was ours;
  • The freshness of the hours,—
  • The sparkling of the early morning rime,
  • The evanescent glory of the time!
  • With them, in some sweet glade,
  • Warm with a summer shade,
  • Or where white clover, blooming fresh and wild,
  • Breathes like the kisses of a little child,
  • He lingers now:—we call him back in vain
  • To our world’s snow and rain;
  • The bower we built him when he was our guest
  • Life’s storms have beaten down,
  • And he far off hath flown,
  • And buildeth where there is a sunnier nest;
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  • Or, closing rainbow wings and laughing eyes,
  • He lieth basking ’neath the open skies,
  • Taking his rest
  • On the soft moss of some unbroken ground,
  • Where sobs did never sound.
  • Oh! give him up: confess that Joy has gone:
  • He met you at the source of Life’s bright river;
  • And if he hath passed on,
  • ’Tis that his task is done,
  • He hath no future message to deliver,
  • But leaves you lone and still for ever and for ever!