Memory’s Mansion

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   In Memory’s Mansion are wonderful rooms,
      And I wander about them at will;
   And I pause at the casements, where boxes of blooms
      Are sending sweet scents o’er the sill.
   I lean from a window that looks on a lawn:
      From a turret that looks on the wave.
   But I draw down the shade, when I see on some glade,
      A stone standing guard, by a grave.

   To Memory’s attic I clambered one day,
      When the roof was resounding with rain.
   And there, among relics long hidden away,
      I rummaged with heart-ache and pain.
   A hope long surrendered and covered with dust,
      A pastime, out-grown, and forgot,
   And a fragment of love, all corroded with rust,
      Were lying heaped up in one spot.

   And there on the floor of that garret was tossed
      A friendship too fragile to last,
   With pieces of dearly bought pleasures, that cost
      Vast fortunes of pain in the past.
   A fabric of passion, once ardent and bright,
      As tropical sunsets in spring,
   Was spread out before me—a terrible sight—
      A moth-eaten rag of a thing.

   Then down the steep stairway I hurriedly went,
      And into fair chambers below.
   But the mansion seemed filled with the old attic scent,
      Wherever my footsteps would go.
   Though in Memory’s House I still wander full oft,
      No more to the garret I climb;
   And I leave all the rubbish heaped there in the loft
      To the hands of the Housekeeper, Time.

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