December

By Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Only the sea intoning,
Only the wainscot-mouse,
Only the wild wind moaning
Over the lonely house.

Darkest of all Decembers
Ever my life has known,
Sitting here by the embers,
Stunned and helpless, alone—

Dreaming of two graves lying
Out in the damp and chill:
One where the buzzard, flying,
Pauses at Malvern Hill;

The other—alas! the pillows
Of that uneasy bed
Rise and fall with the billows
Over our sailor’s head.

Theirs the heroic story —
Died, by frigate and town!
Theirs the Calm and the Glory,
Theirs the Cross and the Crown.

Mine to linger and languish
Here by the wintry sea.
Ah, faint heart! in thy anguish,
What is there left to thee?

Only the sea intoning,
Only the wainscot-mouse,
Only the wild wind moaning
Over the lonely house.

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