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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By Alfred Noyes (1880–1958)

GHOSTS? Love would fain believe,

Earth being so fair, the dead might wish to return!

Is it so strange if, even in heaven, they yearn

For the May-time and the dreams it used to give?

Through dark abysms of Space,

From strange new spheres where Death has called them now

May they not, with a crown on every brow,

Still cry to the loved earth’s lost familiar face,

We two, love, we should come

Seeking a little refuge from the light

Of the blinding terrible star-sown Infinite,

Seeking some sheltering roof, some four-walled home,

From that too high, too wide

Communion with the universe and God,

How glad to creep back to some lane we trod

Hemmed in with a hawthorn hedge on either side.

How strange would be the sight

Of the little towns and twisted streets again,

Where all the hurrying works and ways of men

Would seem a children’s game for our delight.

No more with fevered brain

Plunging across the gulfs of Space and Time

Would we revisit this our earthly clime

We two, if we could ever come again;

So we should wander nigh

Our mortal home, and see its little roof

Keeping the deep eternal night aloof

And yielding us a refuge from the sky.

We should steal in, once more,

Under the cloudy lilac at the gate,

Up the walled garden, then with hearts elate

Forget the stars and close our cottage door.

Oh then, as children use

To make themselves a little hiding-place,

We should rejoice in narrowness of space,

And God should give us nothing more to lose.