I LOOKED on beauteous forms, as I lay dreaming,"Before the Dawn" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Putnam's Monthly & The Reader (September 1908), Lyrics of Life (1909) and Poems (1916) Volume I.
But on no form as beautiful as thine,
Who here, amid the moonbeams white and holy,
Standest in silence by this bed of mine.
I looked on faces fair, as I lay sleeping,
But on no face that seemed as nobly sweet
As that which in the pallid light above me
My wondering, half-awakened sense doth greet.
Who and what art thou? Have I kept thee waiting?
My sleep was as a river deep and calm;
Bring'st thou perchance some word of import for me?
Hast thou, for broken hearts, like mine, some balm?
Who and what art thou? In my tranquil vision
I gazed through rifted clouds on azure skies,—
I seemed to gaze beyond them,—but naught moved me
Like the deep pity in thy brooding eyes.
Why art thou here to-night? I have been lonely—
Have waited, prayed, for such an one as thou,
To still with presence kind my pulse's throbbing,
To lay a cooling touch upon my brow.
Tell me thy name! Then, pain and fear forgotten,
I straightway will arise and follow thee,
Who, so I think, art hither come to guide me
To larger hope and opportunity.
Tell me thy name! I long, I need, to hear it!
Thy name!—I may not plead, for failing breath,—
With look compassionate, the august stranger
Made answer very softly: "I am Death."