Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

By The Hearth

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You come too late;
'Tis far on in November.
The wind strikes bleak
Upon the cheek
That careth rather to keep warm,
(And where 's the harm?)
Than to abate
One jot of its calm color for your sake.
Watch! See! I stir the ember
Upon my lonely hearth and bid the fire wake.


And think you that it will?
'Tis burned, I say, to ashes.
It smoulders cold
As grave-yard mould.
I wish indeed you would not blow
Upon it so!
The dead to kill.
I say, the ghosts of fires will never stir,
Nor woman lift the lashes
Of eyes wept dim, howe'er yours shine for love of her!


Ah, sweet surprise!
did not think such shining
Upon the gloom
Of this cold room
Could fall. Your even, strong, calm breath
Calls life from death.
The warm light lies
At your triumphant feet, faint with desire
To reach you. See! The lining
Of violet and of silver in that sheath of fire!


If you would care--
Although it is November--
I will not say
A bitter nay
To such a gift for building fires.
And though it tires
Me to think of it--I'll own to you
(If you can stir the ember)
It may be found at last, just warm enough for two!

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Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward