The Singer

Within the crimson gloom
Of that dim, shaded room
I heard a singer sing.

She sang of life and death,
Of joys that end with breath,
And joys the end doth bring;

Of passion's bitter pain,
And memory's tears like rain,
Which will not cease to flow;

Of the deep grave's delights,
Where through long days and nights
They hear the green things grow,

Cool-rooted flowers, which come
So near to that still home,
Their ways the dead must know;

And shivers in the grass,
When winds of summer pass,
And whisper, as they go,

Of the mad life above,
Where men like masquers move;
Or are they ghosts?—who knows?—

Sad ghosts who cannot die,
And watch slow years go by
Amid those painted shows.

Who knows? For on her tongue
What never may be sung
Seemed trembling, and we wait.

To catch the strain complete,
More full, but not more sweet,
Beyond the golden gate.
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