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Grieve not, Ladies

Anna Hempstead Branch

Oh, grieve not, Ladies, if at night
 Ye wake to feel your beauty going.
It was a web of frail delight,
 Inconstant as an April snowing.
In other eyes, in other lands,
 In deep fair pools, new beauty lingers,
But like spent water in your hands
 It runs from your reluctant fingers.
Ye shall not keep the singing lark
 That owes to earlier skies its duty.
Weep not to hear along the dark
 The sound of your departing beauty.
The fine and anguished ear of night
 Is tuned to hear the smallest sorrow.
Oh, wait until the morning light!
 It may not seem so gone to-morrow!
But honey-pale and rosy-red!
 Brief lights that made a little shining!
Beautiful looks about us shed —
 They leave us to the old repining.
Think not the watchful dim despair
 Has come to you the first, sweet-hearted!
For oh, the gold in Helen's hair!
 And how she cried when that departed!
Perhaps that one that took the most,
 The swiftest borrower, wildest spender,
May count, as we would not, the cost —
 And grow more true to us and tender.
Happy are we if in his eyes
 We see no shadow of forgetting.
Nay — if our star sinks in those skies
 We shall not wholly see its setting.
Then let us laugh as do the brooks
 That such immortal youth is ours,
If memory keeps for them our looks
 As fresh as are the spring-time flowers.
Oh, grieve not, Ladies, if at night
 Ye wake, to feel the cold December!
Rather recall the early light
 And in your loved one's arms, remember.

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