Oh ! weary ghosts, be still !
Sad spectres of long dead delights,
Wan spirits of the days and nights
Wherein of joy we drank our fill,
Lie deep beneath the sod of years.
To-day, to-day is mine !
Ye shall not blight its fragrant flowers,
Nor mar the passing of its hours,
That love has rendered all divine,
By woeful sighs and falling tears.

This is the sphere of life,
Wherein the long forgotten dead
Unwelcome should forbear to tread,
Within my veins hot blood runs rife,
But ye are colder than the grave !
What would ye have of me?
What price that penance did not pay,
What sacrifice of human clay?
Must my delight again set free
Be tethered to a witless slave?

While still upon this earth
Ye lived, and 'neath the joyous sun
Were warm and fair to look upon,
I blest the hour that gave ye birth,
And all my life laid at your feet.
The homage of my youth
I daily offered at your shrine,
Nor counted dear those gifts of mine
Which sapped the very strength of truth,
And left her poor and incomplete.

Nor did condemn the lust,
The soul destroying tyranny,
With which ye wrought my misery,
For in my heart was endless trust,
My spirit, dauntless, knew no fear.
Ye cry that ye were slain
Alas ! it was not I who slew,
For all my hopes were buried too
Within that hour of death and pain,
And there remained not e'en a tear.

Nay, it was fate whose hand
Upraised to strike the awful blow
Decreed that ye must die, and go
Lamented to that shadow land
Of lost illusions perished soon !
Wherein the once-time-young
Thro' countless ages seek, nor find,
Their vanished youth ; with wandering mind
They sing the songs that once they sung,
But never may complete the tune.

Hence—hence ! it is not yet
The hour wherein I too must pass,
The sand runs still within the glass,
And I would live and fain forget
Those bygone things that once ye were.
My lips have touched the rose,
And in its perfumed breast the dew
Has quenched my thirst; and lo! anew
The petals of my heart unclose,
My pulses throb, my senses stir.

Ye shall not steal this day,
For love has risen to my aid,
See, I am brave and undismayed!
Hence—hence ! all things must pass away,
Back to your graves, obscure and deep !
I read aloud love's prayer,
Lift not again your haunting eyes
T'wards my new-found Paradise,
Lie still beside my lost despair,
And I command you—Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!

More verses by Radclyffe Hall

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