In Absence

Edward Shanks

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My lovely one, be near to me to-night.
For now I need you most, since I have gone
Through the sparse woodland in the fading light,
Where in time past we two have walked alone,
And seen the wild rose folded up for sleep,
And whispered, though the soft word choked my throat,
Your dear name out across the valley deep.
Be near to me, for now I need you most.
To-night I saw an unsubstantial flame
Flickering along those shadowy paths, a ghost
That turned to me and answered to your name,
Mocking me with a wraith of far delight.
. . . My lovely one, be near to me to-night.

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