The Mouse

By John Freeman

The Mouse
Standing close by you
In the cold light
Of two tall candles
That measure the dark of night,
I hear the mouse,
The only thing that’s moving
In the quiet house.

Don’t you hear it,
That furious mouse?
How can you sleep so deep
And that noise in the house?
Won’t you stir
At the furious scratching
In the cupboard there?

No! a sharper sound
Would wake you not;
Not the sweetest fluting
Tease you back to thought.
Yet the scratching mouse
Makes all my flesh a nervous
Haunted house.

O, the dream, the dream
Must be sweet and deep
If life’s scratching’s heard not
On your cold sleep.
Yet if you should hear it,
So furious and fretful-
How could you bear it?

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