Over an ancient scroll I bent,
Steeping my soul in wise content,
Nor paused a moment, save to chide
A low voice whispering at my side.
I wove beneath the stars’ pale shine
A dream, half human, half divine;
And shook off (not to break the charm)
A little hand laid on my arm.
I read; until my heart would glow
With the great deeds of long ago;
Nor heard, while with those mighty dead,
Pass to and fro a faltering tread.
On the old theme I pondered long–
The struggle between right and wrong;
I could not check such visions high,
To soothe a little quivering sigh.
I tried to solve the problem–Life;
Dreaming of that mysterious strife,
How could I leave such reasonings wise,
To answer two blue pleading eyes?
I strove how best to give, and when,
My blood to save my fellow-men–
How could I turn aside, to look
At snowdrops laid upon my book?
Now Time has fled–the world is strange,
Something there is of pain and change;
My books lie closed upon the shelf;
I miss the old heart in myself.
I miss the sunbeams in my room–
It was not always wrapped in gloom:
I miss my dreams–they fade so fast,
Or flit into some trivial past.
The great stream of the world goes by;
None care, or heed, or question, why
I, the lone student, cannot raise
My voice or hand as in old days.
No echo seems to wake again
My heart to anything but pain,
Save when a dream of twilight brings
The fluttering of an angel’s wings!
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