Frances Anne Kemble
Lines - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble
IN ANSWER TO A QUESTION.
I'll tell thee why this weary world meseemeth
But as the visions light of one who dreameth,
Which pass like clouds, leaving no trace behind;
Why this strange life, so full of sin and folly,
In me awakeneth no melancholy,
Nor leaveth shade, or sadness, on my mind.
'Tis not that with an undiscerning eye
I see the pageant wild go dancing by,
Mistaking that which falsest is, for true;
'Tis not that pleasure hath entwined me,
'Tis not that sorrow hath enshrined me;
I bear no badge of roses or of rue,
But in the inmost chambers of my soul
There is another world, a blessèd home,
O'er which no living power holdeth control,
Anigh to which ill things do never come.
There shineth the glad sunlight of clear thought,
With hope and faith holding communion high,
Over a fragrant land with flowers ywrought,
Where gush the living springs of poesy,
There speak the voices that I love to hear,
There smile the glances that I love to see,
There live the forms of those my soul holds dear,
For ever, in that secret world, with me.
They who have walked with me along life's way,
And severed been by fortune's adverse tide,
Who ne'er again, through time's uncertain day,
In weal or woe, may wander by my side;
These all dwell here: nor these, whom life alone
Divideth from me, but the dead, the dead;
Those weary ones who to their rest are gone,
Whose footprints from the earth have vanishèd;
Here dwell they all: and here, within this world,
Like light within a summer sun-cloud furled,
My spirit dwells. Therefore, this evil life,
With all its gilded snares, and fair deceivings,
Its wealth, its want, its pleasures, and its grievings,
Nor frights, nor frets me, by its idle strife.
O thou! who readest of thy courtesy,
Whoe'er thou art, I wish the same to thee!
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