Memory’s Mansion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

In Memory’s Mansion are wonderful rooms,
And I wander about them at will;
And I pause at the casements, where boxes of blooms
Are sending sweet scents o’er the sill.
I lean from a window that looks on a lawn:
From a turret that looks on the wave.
But I draw down the shade, when I see on some glade,
A stone standing guard, by a grave.

To Memory’s attic I clambered one day,
When the roof was resounding with rain.
And there, among relics long hidden away,
I rummaged with heart-ache and pain.
A hope long surrendered and covered with dust,
A pastime, out-grown, and forgot,
And a fragment of love, all corroded with rust,
Were lying heaped up in one spot.

And there on the floor of that garret was tossed
A friendship too fragile to last,
With pieces of dearly bought pleasures, that cost
Vast fortunes of pain in the past.
A fabric of passion, once ardent and bright,
As tropical sunsets in spring,
Was spread out before me–a terrible sight –
A moth-eaten rag of a thing.

Then down the steep stairway I hurriedly went,
And into fair chambers below.
But the mansion seemed filled with the old attic scent,
Wherever my footsteps would go.
Though in Memory’s House I still wander full oft,
No more to the garret I climb;
And I leave all the rubbish heaped there in the loft
To the hands of the Housekeeper, Time.

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