Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Memory's Mansion

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In Memory's Mansion are wonderful rooms,
And I wander about them at will;
And I pause at the casements, where boxes of blooms
Are sending sweet scents o'er the sill.
I lean from a window that looks on a lawn;
From a turret that looks on the wave.
But I draw down the shade when I see on some glade
A stone standing guard by a grave.


To Memory's attic I clambered one day
When the roof was resounding with rain,
And there, among relics long hidden away,
I rummaged with heart ache and pain.
A hope long surrendered and covered with dust,
A pastime, out-grown and forgot,
And a fragment of love all corroded with rust,
Were lying heaped up in one spot.


And there on the floor of that garret was tossed
A friendship too fragile to last,
With pieces of dearly bought pleasures that cost
Vast fortunes of pain in the past,
A fabric of passion, once vivid and bright,
As the breast of a robin in Spring,
Was spread out before me--a terrible sight--
A moth-eaten rag of a thing.


Then down the deep stairway I hurriedly went,
And into fair chambers below;
But the mansion seemed filled with the old attic scent
Wherever my footsteps would go.
Though in Memory's House I still wander full oft,
No more to the garret I climb;
And I leave all the rubbish heaped there in the loft
To the hands of the Housekeeper, Time.

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox