Thomas Hood

(1789-1845 / London / England)

Anticipation


'Coming events cast their shadow before.'

I had a vision in the summer light—
Sorrow was in it, and my inward sight
Ached with sad images. The touch of tears
Gushed down my cheeks:—the figured woes of years
Casting their shadows across sunny hours.
Oh, there was nothing sorrowful in flowers
Wooing the glances of an April sun,
Or apple blossoms opening one by one
Their crimson bosoms—or the twittered words
And warbled sentences of merry birds;—
Or the small glitter and the humming wings
Of golden flies and many colored things—
Oh, these were nothing sad—nor to see Her,
Sitting beneath the comfortable stir
Of early leaves—casting the playful grace
Of moving shadows in so fair a face—
Nor in her brow serene—nor in the love
Of her mild eyes drinking the light above
With a long thirst—nor in her gentle smile—
Nor in her hand that shone blood-red the while
She raised it in the sun. All these were dear
To heart and eye—but an invisible fear
Shook in the trees and chilled upon the air,
And if one spot was laughing brightest—there
My soul most sank and darkened in despair!—
As if the shadows of a curtained room
Haunted me in the sun—as if the bloom
Of early flow'rets had no sweets for me,
Nor apple blossoms any blush to see—
As if the hour had brought too bright a day—
And little birds were all too gay!—too gay!—
As if the beauty of that Lovely One
Were all a fable.—Full before the sun
Stood Death and cast a shadow long before,
Like a dark pall enshrouding her all o'er,
Till eyes, and lips, and smiles, were all no more!

Submitted: Monday, April 05, 2010

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