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A moment since, I paced almost alone
This wonderful wide way, of all her streets
The one wherein the pulse of Paris beats
Most gaily. Like some sweep of beachway, blown
Empty by west-born winds, the tapering line
Of path and drive swelled up the rising ground
Toward the Arch, deserted, and I found
The most majestic mile in Europe mine!


Was it some word I did not comprehend,
Some sign too subtle for my grosser sense,
That in an instant brought, I know not whence,
This throng that fills the path from end to end?
Or was it that the wizard April sun
Bent and tapped lightly at the myriad doors
Wherefrom this tide of laughter daily pours?
I know but this:--a miracle was done!


The children! All the world's a garden grown,
Thrilled with a rush of inter-rippling words
Than all the liquid babble of the birds
Supremely sweeter; and my steps are strown
With faces made of roses, and my hand
Kept busy with the venturesome who stray
Out of their course, and pause upon the way
To bend above some treasure in the sand.


An instnat gone, it was a little face
Framed in white satin, and two violets
That looked me through, and fathomed the regrets
Of my whole lifetime in a second's space!
And now see where he stands, that elder one,
Poised straight and slender, with the languid South
Snared in his eyes and in his proud young mouth:--
Ah, God, ah, God, why hast Thou hid the sun?


I thought them long since dead, these dreams, and yet
Behold, they stand before me in the way,
Amid the throng of little ones at play,
Gowned in their ashen robes of vain regret!
Ah, first love of my young, believing heart,
Haven of my hopes, white light across my fears,
How strange it is to think the empty years
Might of this heaven have granted us a part!


How slow upon the air the music dies!
How blind am I, how loath to understand!
The wraiths of dreams denied brush by me, and
I find my unborn bairns in strangers' eyes!
Exiled, I watch them, romping as they run,
Heartsick for this that now can never be:--
One that should at my coming run to me!
Ah, God, ah, God, why hast Thou hid the sun?