Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
A Book of Dreams (1882)
I. A Haunted House
By Harriet Eleanor Hamilton-King (1840–1920)
 
THE LAWNS are bright, the paths are wide,
The roses are bursting on every side.
 
All around the bowers are green,
And the shining laurels a folding-screen.
 
The large fruit ripens on many a tree,        5
Purple and gold drooping heavily.
 
Of health and wealth a hidden spell
Is scattered by hands invisible.
 
Young, and gladsome, and free they meet—
Voices of laughter and running feet.        10
 
Whether the seasons be dark or fair,
It is always summer and sunshine there.
 
And like a fountain that springs and falls,
There flows sweet music between the walls.
 
Among the guests one comes and goes        15
Whom no one sees and no one knows.
 
A neck more stately, a face more fair
Than any that meet and mingle there.
 
There is heaped up many a gay sea-stone,
One pearl lies among them all alone;        20
 
With a golden halo all about,
The full moon’s face from the clouds looks out;
 
All cold on the breast of the crimson sky,
The star of the evening seems to lie.
 
Shining as pale, apart as far        25
As the pearl, or the moon, or the evening star,
 
That orbèd face, with its curvings rare,
Floats out from its waves of dusky hair,
 
With its eyes of shadow, its archèd eyes,
Whose lost looks dream upon Paradise.        30
 
One only knoweth it in the throng;
One knoweth too well, and knoweth too long.
 
The others are ever unaware,
Though it pass and meet them in the air,
 
With sighs like the sighs of the summer night,        35
Breathing of love and of lost delight.
 
That haunting vision of yearning pain,
One moment strikes and then fades again.
 
It rises up at the music’s sound,
And sinks before they can look around.        40
 
If they catch one sight of the crownèd brow,
A sunbeam glances from bough to bough.
 
If a low voice thrills in the air along,
It is but the dying note of the song.
 
Not to sadden, only to share,        45
To the feast unbidden that guest comes there.
 
Lovely as lilies ungathered, and white,
The house is filled with a dream at night.
 
From chamber to chamber, from door to door,
Not a sound is heard, nor step on the floor;        50
 
Through the shadowy hush as white wings win;—
Peace be to this house, and to all within!
 
The little children sleep soft and sweet;—
Who stands beside them with soft white feet?
 
The soft white hands pass over their hair;—        55
Sleep on, dear children, so safe and fair!
 
Till, where two are sleeping side by side,
Doth a dream at last between them glide.
*        *        *        *        *
Of all the angels that guard the place,
The least is not that forgotten face.        60
 
 
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