Vistors by night
Anthony M. Ludovici
The New Age 25, 1919, p. 432
Reprinted in Too Old for Dolls, pp. 286287
At that deep hour 'twixt midnight and the dawn,
When silence and the darkness strive in vain
For mastery, and Morpheus hath withdrawn
His friendly ward, not to return again;
Lo! Fancy's two-winged doorway wide doth yawn
And uninvited guests arrive amain.
A fateful suite they hover into sight
They are the soul's dread vistors by night.
First come brave Resolutions unfulfilled;
With each his spouse, Ambition unattained.
They have the furtive look of conscience skilled
In palliating failures unexplained.
Their lips are meek with pride that hath been killed
And confidence that hath in sickness waned.
Oh, steel thy heart, thou hapless, sleepless wight,
Against these cheerless visitors by night.
Then come thy throng of petty sins and great,
Their sordid secrets branded on their brow.
Still apprehensive of their darksome fate
And craving safe concealment as they bow.
What faithfulness they have to come so late
When thou hadst half-forgotten them by now.
Oh, for a virtue great enough to affright
This ugly brood of visitors by night.
But these are not the worst; there cometh last
A green-clad lady, viperish and ill.
Her bitter lips she biteth and right fast
She grappleth with what spirit thou hast still.
Her poisoned words transfix thee till aghast
Thou marvellest such aching doth not kill.
Her name is Jealousy, thou wretched wight;
The cruellest of visitors by night.
Then Fancy's two-winged doorway slow doth close.
The birds begin to twitter and to sing.
All nature waketh and on pointed toes
Young truant Morpheus stealeth gently in.
Oh, happiness of reinstalled repose,
And balsam for thy cold and sweated skin!
'Twas worse than all the nightmares, blessed wight;
This virgil with these visitors by night.