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

Stephen Phillips (1868–1915)

The Apparition

I IN the grayness rose:

I could not sleep for thinking of one dead.

Then to the chest I went

Where lie the things of my belovèd spread.

Quietly these I took:

A little glove, a sheet of music torn,

Paintings, ill-done perhaps;

Then lifted up a dress that she had worn.

And now I came to where

Her letters are,—they lie beneath the rest,—

And read them in the haze:

She spoke of many things, was sore opprest.

But these things moved me not:

Not when she spoke of being parted quite,

Of being misunderstood,

Or growing weary of the world’s great fight.

Not even when she wrote

Of our dead child, and the handwriting swerved:

Not even then I shook;

Not even by such words was I unnerved.

I thought—She is at peace;

Whither the child has gone, she too has passed,

And a much-needed rest

Is fallen upon her; she is still at last.

But when at length I took

From under all those letters one small sheet,

Folded and writ in haste,

Why did my heart with sudden sharpness beat?

Alas, it was not sad!

Her saddest words I had read calmly o’er.

Alas, it had no pain!

Her painful words, all these I knew before.

A hurried, happy line!

A little jest, too slight for one so dead:

This did I not endure;

Then with a shuddering heart no more I read.