Spectres by Alice Cary

Once more the shadows darken
Upon life’s solemn stream—
Once more I’m in my chamber
To ponder and to dream.

Down in the mist-white valley,
Across the hills afar,
The rosy light is gleaming
From Love’s descending star.

I hear from yonder parlour
A prattler cry, “He’s come!”
Oh, there’s a world of comfort—
I wish I had a home!

All last night, round about me
The lights of memory streamed,
And my heart to long-lost music
Kept beating as I dreamed.

We live with spectres haunted
That we cannot exorcise—
A pale and shadowy army
Between us and the skies.

Conjured by mortal weakness,
In their cerements they start
From the lonesome burial-places
Of the dead hopes of the heart.

They will meet thee, fellow-pilgrim,
For their graves are everywhere,
And thou canst not lay them better
Than by labour which is prayer.

From: Cary, Alice and Cary, Phoebe, The Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary, 1850, Moss & Brother, Philadelphia, pp. 158-159.

Date: 1849

By: Alice Cary (1820-1871)

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