Waiting

by Frances Fuller Victor

I cannot wean my wayward heart from waiting,

Though the steps watched for never come anear;

The wearying want clings to it unabating—

The fruitless wish for presences once dear.

No fairer eve e'er blessed a poet's vision;

No softer airs e'er kissed a fevered brow;

No scene more truly could be called Elysian,

Than this which holds my gaze enchanted now.

And yet I pine;—this beautiful completeness

Is incomplete, to my desiring heart;

'Tis Beauty's form, without her soul of sweetness—

The pure, but chiseled loveliness of art.

There is no longer pleasure in emotion.

I envy those dead souls no touch can thrill;

Who—"painted ships upon a painted ocean,"—

Seem to be moved, yet are forever still.

Where are they fled?—they whose delightful voices,

Whose very footsteps had a charmed fall:

No more, no more their sound my heart rejoices:

Change, death, and distance part me now from all.

And this fair evening, with remembrance teeming,

Pierces my soul with every sharp regret;

The sweetest beauty saddens to my seeming,

Since all that's fair forbids me to forget.

Eyes that have gazed upon yon silver crescent,

'Till filled with light, then turned to gaze in mine,

Lips that could clothe a fancy evanescent,

In words whose magic thrilled the brain like wine:

Hands that have wreathed June's roses in my tresses,

And gathered violets to deck my breast,

Where are ye now? I miss your dear caresses—

I miss the lips, the eyes, that made me blest.

Lonely I sit and watch the fitful burning

Of prairie fires, far off, through gathering gloom;

While the young moon, and one bright star returning

Down the blue solitude, leave Night their room.

Gone is the glimmer of the silent river;

Hushed is the wind that sped the leaves to-day;

Alone through silence falls the crystal shiver

Of the sweet starlight, on its earthward way.

And yet I wait, how vainly! for a token—

A sigh, a touch, a whisper from the past;

Alas, I listen for a word unspoken,

And wail for arms that have embraced their last.

I wish no more, as once I wished, each feeling

To grow immortal in my happy breast;

Since not to feel will leave no wounds for healing—

The pulse that thrills not has no need of rest.

As the conviction sinks into my spirit

That my quick heart is doomed to death in life;

Or that these pangs must pierce and never sear it,

I am abandoned to despairing strife.

To the lost life, alas! no more returning—

In this to come no semblance of the past—

Only to wait!—hoping this ceaseless yearning

May, 'ere long, end—and rest may come at last.