I sat beside a bed of pain,
And all the muffled hours were still;
The breeze that bent the summer grain,
Scarce sighed along the pine-clad hill;
The pensive stars, the silvery moon
Seemed sleeping in a sea of calm.
And all the leafy bowers of June
Were steeped in midnight's dewy balm.
She seemed to sleep, for lull of pain
Had calmed the fevered pulse a while,
But, as I watched, she woke again,
With wondering glance and eager smile.
The pale lips moved as if to speak,
The thin hand trembled in my own,
Then, with a sigh for words too weak,
The eyelids closed, and she was gone.
Gone! gone! - but where, or how, or when?
I had not seen or form or face;
Unmarked God's messenger had been
Beside me in that sacred place -
No sound of footsteps as he came,
No gleam of glory as he went,
Swift as the lightning's arrowy flame,
Still as the dew the flowers that bent.
Yet she had heard the coming feet,
Had seen the glory of that face,
And, with unuttered raptures sweet,
Had sprung to welcome his embrace
As the swift arrow leaves the string, -
As the glad lark ascends the sky; -
And 'neath that soft o'ershadowing wing,
Swept past the radiant spheres on high.
O track of light! O car of flame!
The calm sky bears no trace of you;
The tranquil orbs sleep on the same,
In heaven's unclouded fields of blue;
And yet, upon this placid clay,
There lingers still that radiance blest, -
Sweet token that her untracked way
Led up to bowers of heavenly rest!