Unto a soul there came the spectre Strife,
by Charles Hanson Towne
To teach him of the bitterness of life;
And then came Grief, to mock his old-time peace,
To whisper and to haunt and never cease.
The ghost Regret came in the quiet night
And hovered sadly o’er his couch of white;
And Vanished Love came in the twilight dim
To crucify and wound and laugh at him.
Full oft these spirits came to haunt his heart,
And only smiled whene’er he cried, “Depart!”
Full oft they came—Regret, Love, Strife and Grief,
And through the years this soul found no relief.
“Yet, oh !“ he said, “in patience I would wait,
Did I not see beyond life’s distant gate
A spirit darker far than all of these,
Which haunts me more and gives me far less peace.
For Death, the doomsman, beckoneth afar,
Beyond the night where gleams no silent star.
I fear him more; he waits somewhere for me;
I know him not, save when in dreams I see
The vision of his form, august, austere.
I can bear all,—but Death, oh, Death I fear!”
At last his soul fell in his last long sleep,
And all was o’er. Beyond the unknown deep
He rose to cry with joyous, wakening breath,
“I slept and dreamed sweet dreams; Lord, was that Death ?“