A DEAD HOUSE
by George MacDonald
When the clock hath ceased to tick Soul-like in the gloomy hall; When the latch no more doth click Tongue-like in the red peach-wall; When no more come sounds of play, Mice nor children romping roam, Then looks down the eye of day On a dead house, not a home! But when, like an old sun's ghost, Haunts her vault the spectral moon; When earth's margins all are lost, Melting shapes nigh merged in swoon, Then a sound--hark! there again!-- No, 'tis not a nibbling mouse! 'Tis a ghost, unseen of men, Walking through the bare-floored house! And with lightning on the stair To that silent upper room, With the thunder-shaken air Sudden gleaming into gloom, With a frost-wind whistling round, From the raging northern coasts, Then, mid sieging light and sound, All the house is live with ghosts! Brother, is thy soul a cell Empty save of glittering motes, Where no live loves live and dwell, Only notions, things, and thoughts? Then thou wilt, when comes a Breath Tempest-shaking ridge and post, Find thyself alone with Death In a house where walks no ghost.