Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
The Face
 
Ebenezer Jones (1820–60)
 
 
THESE dreary hours of hopeless gloom
Are all of life I fain would know;
I would but feel my life consume,
While bring they back mine ancient woe;
For, midst the clouds of grief and shame        5
That crowd around, one face I see;
It is the face I dare not name,
The face none ever name to me.
 
I saw it first when in the dance
Borne, like a falcon, down the hall,        10
He stay’d to cure some rude mischance
My girlish deeds had caused to fall;
He smil’d, he danced with me, he made
A thousand ways to soothe my pain;
And sleeplessly all night I pray’d        15
That I might see that smile again.
 
I saw it next, a thousand times;
And every time its kind smile near’d;
Oh! twice ten thousand glorious chimes
My heart rang out, when he appear’d;        20
What was I then, that others’ thought
Could alter so my thought of him;
That I could be by others taught
His image from my heart to dim!
 
I saw it last, when black and white        25
Shadows went struggling o’er it wild;
When he regain’d my long-lost sight,
And I with cold obeisance smil’d;—
I did not see it fade from life;
My letters o’er his heart they found;        30
They told me in death’s last hard strife
His dying hands around them wound.
 
Although my scorn that face did maim,
Even when its love would not depart;
Although my laughter smote its shame        35
And drave it swording through his heart;
Although its death-gloom grasps my brain
With crushing unrefus’d despair;
That I may dream that face again
God still must find alone my prayer.        40
 

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