LADY of Sorrow! What though laughing blue,
Thy sister, mock men’s anguish, and the sun
Glare like a wrathful judge on many a one
That longs for night his bitter shame to rue,
Yet dost thou grant thy mercy of mist and dew
And cloud and calm ere angry day be done,
Weaving over the vault the weary shun
Thy veil of peace, with pity trembling through.
When all light loves and all brave hues are flown,
When beaten hope falls from the reeling fight,
And life is lone upon her desolate way,
And noon is fierce, and no men see aright,
Then weary eyes turn unto thee, their own,
Lady of Grief, the soul’s madonna, Grey.
Yet not in sorrow only art thou fair,
For joy may know and love thee in the pall
Of spray that slumbers on the waterfall,
Or in low cottage-smoke in evening air
Or in brave stone carven in glory rare,
Or when the tender mists of Autumn fall
Dappling the mead with beauty, and the tall
Stark dreaming oaks thine ancient livery wear.
Yet none hath known thy loveliness aright
Save him who gazing in his lady’s eyes
Sees dim lists tossing with plumes of many a knight
And woods where elfin waters gleam and glance,
And all the vision and faith of old romance
And the great dream of youth that never dies.