Dora Sigerson Shorter
A Ballad Of The Wailing Ghost
As I between the dusk and dark
Walked down by Hampton Towers,
I strayed upon the haunted path
In the forbidden hours.
I paced the long and lonesome way
In meditation deep,
And there I saw a little maid
Who bitterly did weep.
Quaint was her silken robe and flowed
In some disorder down,
And on her slender shoulders fell
Her locks of tangled brown.
'Too late! Too late!' she weeping cried,
Her voice was like the wind—
She passed and wrung her lily hands
And left me far behind.
A maid distraught indeed was she
Her anguish all confessed—
In the sharp sighing that flew forth
From out her heaving breast.
When she had gone an echo flew
Across the haunted bower;
'Too late! Too late!' the whisper came
From ev'ry sleeping flower.
I met a youth upon the path
And bade him tell to me
If he had seen the little maid
Who wept so dolefully.
Upon his cheek the ruddy rose
Swift faded into white,
'God pity you, for you have seen
The wailing ghost this night.
'Pray, pray,' he cried, 'and shrive your soul,
And so avert your fate,'
And as he flew me swift in fear
A whisper cried 'Too late!'
An evil prayer rose to my lip
'Lord! This my soul's relief,
To hold her slender hands in mine,
And know her secret grief.'
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William Butler Yeats
(13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939)
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