Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
912. The Cello
 
By Richard Watson Gilder
 
 
WHEN late I heard the trembling cello play,
In every face I read sad memories
That from dark, secret chambers where they lay
Rose, and looked forth from melancholy eyes.
So every mournful thought found there a tone        5
To match despondence: sorrow knew its mate;
Ill fortune sighed, and mute despair made moan;
And one deep chord gave answer, “Late,—too late.”
Then ceased the quivering strain, and swift returned
Into its depths the secret of each heart;        10
Each face took on its mask, where lately burned
A spirit charmed to sight by music’s art;
But unto one who caught that inner flame
No face of all can ever seem the same.
 

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