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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

She Came and Went

By James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)

[From Poetical Works. Collective Edition. 1885.]

AS a twig trembles, which a bird

Lights on to sing, then leaves unbent,

So is my memory thrilled and stirred;—

I only know she came and went.

As clasps some lake, by gusts unriven,

The blue dome’s measureless content,

So my soul held that moment’s heaven;—

I only know she came and went.

As, at one bound, our swift spring heaps

The orchards full of bloom and scent,

So clove her May my wintry sleeps;—

I only know she came and went.

An angel stood and met my gaze,

Through the low doorway of my tent;

The tent is struck, the vision stays;—

I only know she came and went.

O, when the room grows slowly dim,

And life’s last oil is nearly spent,

One gush of light these eyes will brim,

Only to think she came and went.