Isabella Banks

And so, it is said, you are haunted!
My friend, we are haunted all;
And every homestead holds a ghost
That ever has held a pall.

Do you think that the empty cradle
Has never a ghost within?
Or the unused nursery table
Hears never a ghostly din?

Think you there is never a patter
Of unseen feet on the floor?
Or that never a voiceless clamour
Floats in through the garden door?

Is there ever a maid or widow
Whose love lies under a stone,
Who holds not a ghost to her aching heart,
To cherish and call her own?

Is there ever a grey-haired beauty
Looks not in her glass to see,
No time-worn face, but the phantom form
Of the belle she was wont to be?

Was there ever a wretch abandoned,
A waif from the hour of birth,
Whose unknown mother was not to him
A ghost on the dreary earth?

Could there ever be man or woman,
Facing through lane or street,
Who could not extend an open hand
Some shadowy friend to greet?

Could there ever be man or woman
So lonely and loveless through life,
Was never haunted by kith or kin,
Spirit of peace or strife?

Could there ever be human being
With heart so narrow and small
That never a ghost could hide therein,
To waken at Memory's call?

There are some with vision beclouded
Who see not all that they might;
And some, of a finer essence born,
Who see with the inner sight.

To these the past hath its phantoms,
More real than solid earth;
And to these death does not mean decay,
But only another birth.

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