I do not know if all the fault be mine,
Or why I may not think of thee and be
At peace with mine own heart. Unceasingly
Grim doubts beset me, bygone words of thine
Take subtle meaning, and I cannot rest
Till all my fears and follies are confessed.
Perhaps the wild wind's questioning has brought
My heart its melancholy, for, alone
In the night stillness, I can hear him moan
In sobbing gusts, as though he vainly sought
Some bygone bliss. Against the dripping pane
In storm-blown torrents beats the driving rain.
Nay I will tell thee all, I will not hide
One thought from thee, and if I do thee wrong
So much the more must I be brave and strong
To show my fault. And if thou then shouldst chide
I will accept reproof most willingly
So it but bringeth peace to thee and me.
I dread thy past. Phantoms of other days
Pursue my vision. There are other hands
Which thou hast held, perchance some slender bands
That draw thee still to other woodland ways
Than those which we have known, some blissful hours
I do not share, of love, and June, and flowers.
I dread her most, that woman whom thou knewest
Those years ago, - I cannot bear to think
That she can say: "My lover praised the pink
Of palm, or ear," "The violets were bluest
In that dear copse," and dream of some fair day
When thou didst while her summer hours away.
I dread them too, those light loves and desires
That lie in the dim shadow of the years;
I fain would cheat myself of all my fears
And, as a child watching warm winter fires,
Dream not of yesterday's black embers, nor
To-morrow's ashes that may strew the floor.
I did not dream of this while thou wert near,
But now the thought that haunts me day by day
Is that the things I love, the tender way
Of mastery, the kisses that are dear
As Heaven's best gifts, to other lips and arms
Owe half their blessedness and all their charms.
Tell me that I am wrong, O! Man of men,
Surely it is not hard to comfort me,
Laugh at my fears with dear persistency,
Nay, if thou must, lie to me! There, again,
I hear the rain, and the wind's wailing cry
Stirs with wild life the night's monotony.