Frances Anne Kemble

(27 November 1809 - 15 January 1893 / London, England)

Lines. - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble

In visions countless as the golden motes
That dance upon the sun's earth-kissing beams,
A phantom haunts my life, an image floats
Through my day-thoughts, and through my midnight dreams,
Clothed in a thousand forms which fancy traces
With quick creation, and as soon effaces.
Sometimes, it slowly sweeps in silence by,
Beneath some long Ionian colonnade,
Through whose far vista I behold it fade,
Girlish in form, in bearing sad and high.
Sometimes, in some removèd chamber lone,
Where the sun's mellow radiance is thrown
Around it, in a thousand varying hues,
That melt and glow, it seems to sit and muse.
Sometimes, upon a gray and stony shore,
The lonely figure strays distractedly,
Or stands, and gazes the wide water o'er,
Stretching its arms above the cruel sea.
And all this while, I never see the face
Of this close haunting shape, that follows me;
And vainly do I strive, and pray for grace,
To know if what I think it is—it be.
Then with an accent by despair made wild,
I call aloud upon thy name, my child,
And I behold thine eyes—and suddenly
I'm in the dark of utter misery.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010



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