I HOLD a shadow's cold, soft hand,
I look in eyes you cannot see,
And words you cannot understand
Come back, as from a distant land,—
The far-off land of Memory.

Forgive me that I sit apart
And hold the shadow's hand in mine,
The past broods darkly in my heart,
And bitter are the tears that start;
I would not mix them with the wine.

The hour will pass: the shade will go
To his dark home, and swift forget,
At rest the daisied turf below,
The sun-warmed hours we used to know,
And the old paths wherein we met.

I am alive! Why should the dead
With cold hand hold the quick in thrall?
To his far place the shade has sped,
Now Life with Life may gayly wed!
… My heart misgives me, after all.
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