By the Aurelian Wall and Other Elegies

by Bliss Carman




HERE at the desk where once you sat,
Who wander now with poets dead
And summers gone, afield so far,
There sits a stranger in your stead.

Here day by day men come who knew


Your steadfast ways and loved you well;
And every comer with regret
Has some new thing of praise to tell.

The poet old, whose lyric heart
Is fresh as dew and bright as flame,


Longs for "his boy," and finds you not,
And goes the wistful way he came.

Here where you toiled without reproach,
Builded and loved and dreamed and planned,
At every door, on every page,


Lurks the tradition of your hand.

And if to you, like reverie,
There comes a thought of how they fare
Whose footsteps go the round you went
Of noisy street and narrow stair,


Know they have learned a new desire,
Which puts unfaith and faltering by;
And triumph fills their dream because
One life was leal, one hope was high.