Charles Hanson Towne
Unasked - Poem by Charles Hanson Towne
Long had I dwelt with sad-faced Grief. Her tears
Were my one gift thro’ dim and silent years.
A h! long I knew the pressure of her hand,
For she had led me thro’ lone Shadowland;
And long I knew the wan look in her eyes,
Reflecting the dull gray of autumn skies.
So many days we two were side by side,
So long she was my comrade and my guide,
No marvel that I thought I dreamed one night,
When Happiness, sweet angel of the light,
Unbidden came and whispered tenderly,
“When morning breaks, poor heart, yon may be free,
If you will rise and follow where I go
Out where there is nor sorrowing nor woe.”
‘Twas then I said to Grief, “Good-bye, old friend.
Long have we walked together. Now the end
Is come, for Happiness hath dried mine eyes,
And promised what earth holds of paradise.
I shall go thro’ her fields of asphodel.
Good-bye, old comrade Grief. Farewell, farewell !“
How long we journeyed, Happiness and I,
I know not; but the days and years sped by; —
And then they grew so weary! Many a night
I slept and dreamed of Grief, careworn and white.
I loved her not when we had been alone;
Yet now, when she and I had strangers grown,
I wished I could behold her face again,
Even tho’ I read thereon the old word, “Pain.”
Yea, oft I said, “These days unknown to tears
Are no more sweet than those of by-sped years
Wherein I knew no joy.” I knelt and plead
That once again I might be made to shed
Even one tear. Ah! soon the answer came.
I heard Grief sadly calling me by name,
And ere I raised my head, close by my side
She stood, she whom I almost thought had died.
“Thou needst not pray,” she said, “that I should be
Thy comrade once again. Alas for thee!
I, like sweet Happiness, unbidden dwell
With those whom God doth love and loveth well.
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