Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
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Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
 
XXII. Irrevocable
From ‘Threnody’
By Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
 
[See full text.]

THE SOUTH-WIND brings
Life, sunshine, and desire,
And on every mount and meadow
Breathes aromatic fire;
But over the dead he has no power,        5
The lost, the lost, he cannot restore;
And, looking over the hills, I mourn
The darling who shall not return….
 
And whither now, my truant wise and sweet,
O, whither tend thy feet?        10
I had the right, few days ago,
Thy steps to watch, thy place to know;
How have I forfeited the right?
Hast thou forgot me in a new delight?…
 
From the window I look out        15
To mark thy beautiful parade,
Stately marching in cap and coat
To some tune by fairies played;—
A music heard by thee alone
To works as noble led thee on.        20
 
Now Love and Pride, alas! in vain,
Up and down their glances strain.
The painted sled stands where it stood;
The kennel by the corded wood;
The gathered sticks to stanch the wall        25
Of the snow-tower, when snow should fall;
The ominous hole he dug in the sand,
And childhood’s castles built or planned;
His daily haunts I well discern,—
The poultry-yard, the shed, the barn,—        30
And every inch of garden ground
Paced by the blessed feet around,
From the roadside to the brook
Whereinto he loved to look.
Step the meek birds where erst they ranged;        35
The wintry garden lies unchanged;
The brook into the stream runs on;
But the deep-eyed boy is gone.
 
 
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