After The Ball
Silence now reigns in the corridors wide,
The stately rooms of that mansion of pride;
The music is hushed, the revellers gone,
The glitt’ring ball-room deserted and lone,—
Silence and gloom, like a clinging pall,
O’ershadow the house—’tis after the ball.
Yet a light still gleams in a distant room,
Where sits a girl in her “first season’s bloom;”
Look at her closely, is she not fair,
With exquisite features, rich silken hair
And the beautiful, child-like, trusting eyes
Of one in the world’s ways still unwise.
The wreath late carefully placed on her brow
She has flung on a distant foot-stool now;
The flowers, exhaling their fragrance sweet,
Lie crushed and withering at her feet;
Gloves and tablets she has suffered to fall—
She seems so weary after the ball!
Ah, more than weary! How still and white,
With rose-tipped fingers entwined so tight:
A grieved, pained look on that forehead fair,
One which it never before did wear,
And soft eyes gleam through a mist of tears,
Telling of secret misgivings and fears.
Say, what is it all? Why, some April care,
Or some childish trifle, baseless as air;
For the griefs that call forth girlhood’s tears
Would but win a smile in maturer years,
When the heart has learned, ’mid pain and strife,
Far sterner lessons from the book of life.
Ah! far better for thee, poor child, I ween,
Had thy night been spent in some calmer scene,
Communing with volume or friend at will,
Or in innocent slumber, calm and still;
Thou would’st not feel so heart-weary of all
As thou to night thou feelest, “after the ball!”