His Place.

A poem by Marietta Holley

So all things come to our mind at last,
He is close by your side in the twilight gloom,
And you two are alone in the dim old room,
Yet he is mute, as you bade him be, time past.

You bade him to weary you, never again
With his idle love, in truth he was wise,
For he spake no more, although in his eyes
You read, you fancied, a language of pain.

But this is past, and vex you he never will,
With loving glance, or look of sad reproach;
His lips move not, smile not at your approach;
The flowers he clasps are not more calm and still.

Your favorite flowers he has heard you praise,
Purple pansies, and lilies creamy white;
But he offers them not to you to-night,
He troubles you not, he has learned "his place."

You wished to teach him that lesson, you told
Him as much, you know, in this very room,
'Twas about this hour, for the twilight gloom
As now, was enwrapping you, fold on fold.

Was "his place" in the haunts of the herded poor,
Where the pestilence stalked with deadly breath?
Face to face with its dreadful shadow, death,
How he wrestled with it from door to door,

Giving his life that others life might find,
Shaming you with his toil, his bravery,
Not by a word or look, no boaster he,
He was always gentle to you, and kind.

He has found "his place," but no need of fears,
No; you need not summon your jealous pride,
For "his place" will never be by your side,
Nevermore, nevermore, through all the years.

And when from Time shall drop Earth's days
Like chaff from the bloom of the year sublime,
With the gentle spirits of every time,
And the martyr souls, he will find his place.

So answers will come to our seeking wills,
Nevermore will his sad face vex your sight,
For you never will make your robes so white
As to stand by him on the heavenly hills.

Yes, lay your cheek upon his, and press
The clustering hair from his broad white brow,
Have no fear, he will not annoy you now
By a word in praise of your loveliness.

Yes, kneel by him, moaning, kissing his brow,
Not now will it grieve him, your tears' swift rain,
And he will not ask you to share your pain;
Ah! Once he would, but not now - not now.

So leave the old room in the waning light,
Go out in your peerless beauty and pride,
And let no shadow go out by your side
To follow you under the falling night.

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