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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Quiet House

By Mary Ainge De Vere (Madeline Bridges)

MY house is quiet now—so still!

All day I hear the ticking clock;

The hours are numbered; clear and shrill

Outside the robins chirp and trill:

My house is quiet now—so still!

But silence breaks my heart. I wait,

And waiting yearn for call or knock,

To hear the creaking of the gate

And footsteps coming, soon or late:

The silence breaks my heart. I wait.

All through the empty house I go,

From hall to hall, from room to room;

The heavy shadows spread and grow,

The startled echoes mock me so,

As through the empty house I go.

Ah, silent house! If I could hear

Sweet noises in the tranquil gloom,

The joyous tumult, loud and near,

That vexed me many a happy year,—

Ah, silent house, if I could hear!

Ah, lonely house! If once, once more,

My longing eyes might see the stain

Of little foot-prints on the floor—

The sweet child-faces at the door—

Ah, blessed Heaven, but once, once more!

My house and home are very still.

I watch the sunshine and the rain:

The years go on … Perhaps Death will

Life’s broken promises fulfil.

My house, my home, my heart, are still!