Honeymoon Time at an Inn

At the shiver of morning, a little before the false dawn,
The moon was at the window-square,
Deedily brooding in deformed decay —
The curve hewn off her cheek as by an adze;
At the shiver of morning a little before the false dawn
So the moon looked in there.

Her speechless eyeing reached across the chamber,
Where lay two souls opprest,
One a white lady sighing, " Why am I sad!"
To him who sighed back, " Sad, my Love, am I!"
And speechlessly the old moon conned the chamber,
And these two reft of rest.

While their large-pupilled vision swept the scene there,
Nought seeming imminent,
Something fell sheer, and crashed, and from the floor
Lay glittering at the pair with a shattered gaze,
While their large-pupilled vision swept the scene there,
And the many-eyed thing outleant.

With a start they saw that it was an old-time pier-glass
Which had stood on the mantel near,
Its silvering blemished, — yes, as if worn away
By the eyes of the countless dead who had smirked at it
Ere these two ever knew that old-time pier-glass
And its vague and vacant leer.

As he looked, his bride like a moth skimmed forth, and kneeling
Quick, with quivering sighs,
Gathered the pieces under the moon's sly ray,
Unwitting as an automaton what she did;
Till he entreated, hasting to where she was kneeling,
" Let it stay where it lies!"

" Long years of sorrow this means!" breathed the lady
As they retired. " Alas!"
And she lifted one pale hand across her eyes.
" Don't trouble, Love; it's nothing," the bridegroom said.
" Long years of sorrow for us!" murmured the lady,
" Or ever this evil pass!"

And the Spirits Ironic laughed behind the wainscot,
And the Spirits of Pity sighed.
" It's good," said the Spirits Ironic, " to tickle their minds
With a portent of their wedlock's aftergrinds."
And the Spirits of Pity sighed behind the wainscot,
" It's a portent we cannot abide!

" More, what shall happen to prove the truth of the portent?"
— " Oh; in brief, they will fade till old,
And their loves grow numbed ere death, by the cark of care."
— " But nought see we that asks for portents there? —
'Tis the lot of all." — " Well, no less true is a portent
That it fits all mortal mould."
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