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.

No comments: