And Nature's dainty limbs were wrapt in garments of repose,
I sat upon the College fence, musing of care and strife,
And how one absent passion would have changed the course of life.
A friend was walking through the Yard, as on the fence I sat,
And meeting me he stopped and talked; we had a pleasant chat:
Of concerts and of parties and the ending of the year,
How grand was "Julius Caesar," and how stupid "Paul Revere."
Then from these general topics we took to gossiping,
Which is, you know, in college a very usual thing.
"And have you heard about poor Bill? Ah, well, it was a shame;
He met a disappointment, lost his character and name.
I 'll tell you how it happened; it will only take a minute.
He - What was that you asked? O yes! There was a woman in it."
"And what," said I, "about that fellow that left a year ago,
Whatever has become of him?" "Of him, why don't you know?
His girl - she was a precious jilt - went back on him, they said;
And not long after that, one morning they found him cold and dead.
For he had staked his whole life on her, and lost the glorious stake;
Well, can you wonder at despair, and if his heart did break?
He drank - how deep! - to drown it all, but it would come the more,
And all her faithlessness appeared much blacker than before;
He gambled fiercely till sheer want into his soul did stare,
Then at the last he shouted out great curses of despair!
For help or money to his friends with little hope he wrote;
No answer came, - he laid him down one night and cut his throat.
Such cruel things have always filled me with the greatest fright, -
But I must go, it 's getting late, - good night, old boy, good night!"
He left me there; the shadows were gathering around,
While meditation and the gloom had muffled every sound.
I saw, with other eyes than mine, a better world than ours,
Where only things of heaven were fair, and naught as fair as flowers;
Where man with happier footsteps upon the meadows trod,
And, clad in innocence divine, loved Nature and his God.
As long as I did watch that world, no woman did I see,
But man and Nature dwelt in God with purest harmony!
Awake once more, I started up, that sweetest vision fled, -
I heard the night-breeze moaning, and felt the day was dead.
L. L. E.