Lucy

Strange — as I sat brooding here,
While memory plied her quiet thread,
Your once-loved face came back, my dear,
Amid the distant dead.

That pleasant cheek, hair smooth and brown,
Clear brows, and wistful eyes — yet gay:
You stand, in your alpaca gown,
And ghost my heart away.

I was a child then; nine years old —
And you a woman. Well, stoop close,
To heed a passion never told
Under how faded a rose!

Do you remember? Few my pence:
I hoarded them with a miser's care,
And bought you, in passionate innocence,
A birthday maidenhair.

I see its fronds. Again I sit,
Hunched up in bed, in the dark, alone,
Crazed with those eyes that, memory-lit,
Now ponder on my own.

You gave me not a thought, 'tis true —
Precocious, silly child; and yet,
Perhaps of all you have loved — loved you,
I may the last forget.

And though no single word of this
You heed — a lifetime gone — at rest;
I would that all remembrances
As gently pierced my breast!
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