Whene'er I try to read a book,
Across the page your face will look,
And then I neither know nor care
What sense the printed words may bear.
At night when I would go to sleep,
Thinking of you, awake I keep,
And still repeat the words you said,
Like sick men murmuring prayers in bed.
And when, with weariness oppressed,
I sink in spite of you to rest,
Your image, like a lovely sprite,
Haunts me in dreams through half the night.
I wake upon the autumn morn
To find the sunrise hardly born,
And in the sky a soft pale blue,
And in my heart your image true.
When out I walk to take the air,
Your image is for ever there,
Among the woods that lose their leaves,
Or where the North Sea sadly heaves.
By what enchantment shall be laid
This ghost, which does not make afraid,
But vexes with dim loveliness
And many a shadowy caress?
There is no other way I know
But unto you forthwith to go,
That I may look upon the maid
Whereof that other is the shade.
As the strong sun puts out the moon,
Whose borrowed rays are all his own,
So, in your living presence, dies
The phantom kindled at your eyes.
By this most blessed spell, each day
The vexing ghost awhile I lay.
Yet am I glad to know that when
I leave you it will rise again.