Menella Bute Smedley

A Face from the Past

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Out of the Past there has come a Face;
Wherefore I do not know;
I did not call it from its place,
I cannot make it go;
In the night it was very near,
And it looks at me to-day,
With well-known eyes, so kind, so dear,
And it will not go away.
I am the same that I was before,
There is nothing new to say;
But this is with me evermore,
As it was not yesterday;
It makes the Moment vague and vain,
And (what a wondrous thing!)
I hear an old tale told again
As if it was happening.

You talk, but scarce I understand;
If you but pause for breath,
Straightway I am in that far land
Beyond the seas of Death;
All living sights are dimly seen
Across that mighty space—
How can I tell you what I mean?
'Tis nothing but a Face.
O friends, who think me dull or cold,
Why do you feel surprise?
Have you no memories that hold
Your weary waking eyes?
I want to take all patiently,
But I sometimes long to say,
A Face has come from the Past to me—
Let me alone to-day!

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Menella Bute Smedley