Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
By William James Dawson (1854–1928)
IN that sore hour around thy bed there stood
A silent guard of shadows, each equipp’d
With dart or arrow aim’d against thy life.
Thy breath came slowly all that awful night;
Outside I heard the wind and earth at strife,        5
And on the window’s ledge incessant dripp’d
The pitiless rain. At last I left thy room,
And passing out, upon its threshold’s edge
Who should I meet but Death! A wan clear light
Fell from his fathomless eyes, his brow was gloom,        10
His rustling raiment seem’d to sigh like sedge
When the salt marsh-winds wail and beat thereon.
He paused, he turn’d; and while I stood and wept,
Behold a crimson signal waved and shone
On the door’s lintel, even such an one        15
As he obey’d in Egypt, and I knew
Death heard some higher summons, and withdrew:
When I return’d, like a tired child you slept.

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