MAN sat by the coffin of the one who had been nearest to
him, in black and bitter care. And as he sat, he saw
passing beyond the coffin a troop of bright and lovely
shapes, with clear
eyes and faces full of rosy light.
"Who are you, fair creatures?" asked the man. And
"We are the words you might have spoken to her."
"Oh, stay with me!" cried the man.
"Your sweet looks are a knife in my heart, yet still
I would keep you, for she is cold and deaf, and I am
But they answered: "Nay; we cannot stay, for we have no
being, but are only a light that never shone."
And they passed on and were gone.
And still the man sat in black and bitter care.
 And as he sat he saw rising up between him and the coffin
a band of pale and terrible forms, with bloodless lips and
hollow eyes of fire.
The man shuddered.
"What are you, dreadful shapes?" he asked; and they
"We are the words she heard."
Then the man cried aloud in anguish: "Depart from me, and
leave me with my dead! Better solitude than
But they, sitting down in silence round him, fixed their
eyes upon him; and gazing into the hollow eyes of fire,
the man saw it was his own soul that looked at him.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics