Thomas Buchanan Read

(1822-1872 / the USA)

Solemn Voices - Poem by Thomas Buchanan Read

I heard from out the dreary realms of sorrow
The various tongues of Woe:
One said -- 'Is there a hope in the to-morrow?'
And many answer'd -- 'No.'

And they arose and mingled their loud voices,
And cried in bitter breath--
'In all our joys the past alone rejoices --
There is no joy but Death.

'Oh, dreadful Past! beyond the midnight portal
Thou hast usurp'd our peace;
And if the angel Memory be immortal,
When shall this anguish cease?'

And suddenly, within the darken'd distance,
The solemn Past replied--
'In my domains your joys have no existence,
Your hopes, they have not died!

'Nought comes to me except those ghosts detested,
Phantoms of Wrong and Pain;
But whatsoe'er Affection hath invested,
The eternal years retain.

'Then stand no more with looks and souls dejected,
To woo and win Despair,
The joys we mourn the Future hath collected,
Your hopes are gather'd there.

'And as the dew which leaves the morning flowers
Augments the after-rain--
And as the blooms which fall from summer bowers
Are multiplied again--

'So shall the joys the Future holds in keeping
Augment your after peace;
So shall your hopes, which now are only sleeping,
Return with large increase.'

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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