The Balcony

A STREET at night, a silent square
That mirth forbids;
Whose windows, with drawn lips and narrowed lids,
Resent the intruder's stare.

Where winds are cautious in their play,
Where only steals
Some meager brougham on its muffled wheels
Before the portals grey.

But suddenly a window swings,
A hand is laid
For one white moment on the balustrade,
And benediction brings.

I linger . . . but, O influence malign
I watch a snail
Crawl casually along the painted rail,
Where I had built a shrine!

by Muriel Stuart

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