Borrowed Thoughts by Adelaide Anne Procter


Trust him little who doth raise
To one height both great and small,
And sets the sacred crown of praise,
Smiling, on the head of all.

Trust him less who looks around
To censure all with scornful eyes,
And in everything has found
Something that he dare despise.

But for one who stands apart,
Stirred by nought that can befall,
With a cold indifferent heart,–
Trust him least and last of all.


I have a bitter Thought, a Snake
That used to sting my life to pain.
I strove to cast it far away,
But every night and every day
It crawled back to my heart again.

It was in vain to live or strive,
To think or sleep, to work or pray;
At last I bade this thine accursed
Gnaw at my heart, and do its worst,
And so I let it have its way.

Thus said I, “I shall never fall
Into a false and dreaming peace,
And then awake, with sudden start,
To feel it biting at my heart,
For now the pain can never cease.”

But I gained more; for I have found
That such a snake’s envenomed charm
Must always, always find a part,
Deep in the centre of my heart,
Which it can never wound or harm.

It is coiled round my heart to-day.
It sleeps at times, this cruel snake,
And while it sleeps it never stings:-
Hush! let us talk of other things,
Lest it should hear me and awake.


Yes, dear, our Love is slain;
In the cold grave for evermore it lies,
Never to wake again,
Or light our sorrow with its starry eyes;
And so–regret is vain.

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One hour of pain and dread,
We killed our Love, we took its life away
With the false words we said;
And so we watch it, since that cruel day,
Silent, and cold, and dead.

We should have seen it shine
Long years beside us. Time and Death might try
To touch that life divine,
Whose strength could every other stroke defy
Save only thine and mine.

No longing can restore
Our dead again. Vain are the tears we weep,
And vainly we deplore
Our buried Love: its grave lies dark and deep
Between us evermore.

IV. FROM * * *

Within the kingdom of my Soul
I bid you enter, Love, to-day;
Submit my life to your control,
And give my Heart up to your sway.

My Past, whose light and life is flown,
Shall live through memory for you still;
Take all my Present for your own,
And mould my Future to your will.

One only thought remains apart,
And will for ever so remain;
There is one Chamber in my heart
Where even you might knock in vain.

A haunted Chamber:- long ago
I closed it, and I cast the key
Where deep and bitter waters flow,
Into a vast and silent sea.

Dear, it is haunted. All the rest
Is yours; but I have shut that door
For ever now. ‘Tis even best
That I should enter it no more.

No more. It is not well to stay
With ghosts; their very look would scare
Your joyous, loving smile away–
So never try to enter there.

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Check, if you love me, all regret
That this one thought remains apart:-
Now let us smile, dear, and forget
The haunted Chamber in my Heart.

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