Sunday, July 30, 2017


I LOOKED on beauteous forms, as I lay dreaming,
     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." 
"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.

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