by May Kendall
Ay, an old story, yet it might
Have truth in it—who knows?
Of the heroine's breaking down one night
Just ere the curtain rose.
And suddenly, when fear and doubt
Had shaken every heart,
There stepped an unknown actress out,
To take the heroine's part.
But oh, the magic of her face,
And oh the songs she sung,
And oh the rapture of the place,
And oh the flowers they flung!
But she never stooped: they lay all night,
As when she turned away,
And left them—and the saddest light
Shone in her eyes of grey.
She gave a smile in glancing round,
And sighed, one fancied, then—
But never they knew where she was bound,
Or saw her face again,
But the old prompter, grey and frail,
They heard him murmur low,
"It only could be Meg Coverdale,
Died thirty years ago,
"In that old part, who took the town;
And she was fair, as fair
As when they shut the coffin down
On the gleam of her golden hair;
"And it wasn't hard to understand
How a lass as fair as she
Could never rest in the Promised Land,
Where none but angels be."