New And Old

I and new love, in all its living bloom,
Sat vis-à-vis, while tender twilight hours
Went softly by us, treading as on flowers.
Then suddenly I saw within the room
The old love, long since lying in its tomb.
It dropped the cerecloth from its fleshless face
And smiled on me, with a remembered grace
That, like the noontide, lit the gloaming gloom.

Upon its shroud there hung the grave’s green mould,
About it hung the odour of the dead;
Yet from its cavernous eyes such light was shed
That all my life seemed gilded, as with gold;
Unto the trembling new love “Go, ” I said,
“I do not need thee, for I have the old.”

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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