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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

The Waiting Chords

By Stephen Henry Thayer (1839–1919)

[Born in New Ipswich, N. H., 1839. Died, 1919. Songs of Sleepy Hollow. 1886.]

HEEDLESS she strayed from note to note,

A maid, scarce knowing that she sang;

The dainty accents from her throat

In undulations lightly rang.

She sang in laughing rhythms sweet;

A bird of spring was in her voice;

Till on through measures deft and fleet

She caught the ditty of her choice.

A song of love, in words of fire,

Now made her breast with passion stir;

It breathed across her living lyre,

And thrilled the waiting chords in her.

Uplifted like a quivering dart,

One moment poised the tones on high,

To tell the language of her heart,

And swell the pæan ere it die.

She smote the keys with will and force,

Like storm-winds swept the sounds along;

Her flying fingers in their course

Vied with the tumult of her song.

Her eyes flashed with the burning theme;

A glow of triumph flushed her cheek;

No need of words to tell the dream

Of love her lips would never speak.

When the wild cadence died in air,

And all the chords to silence fell,

I knew the spirit lurking there,

The secret that had wrought the spell.