There are ghosts in the room,
As I sit here alone, from the dark corners there
             They come out of the gloom
And they stand at my side, and they lean on my chair.

             There's the ghost of a hope
That lighted my days with a fanciful glow.
             In her hand is the rope
That strangled her life out. Hope was slain long ago.

             But her ghost comes to-night,
With its skeleton face, and expressionless eyes,
             And it stands in the light,
And mocks me, and jeers me with sobs and with sighs.

             There's the ghost of a Joy,
A frail, fragile thing, and I prized it too much,
             And the hands that destroy
Clasped it close, and it died at the withering touch.

             There's the ghost of a love,
Born with joy, reared with Hope, died in pain and unrest,
             But he towers above
All the others--this ghost: yet a ghost at the best.

             I am weary and fain
Would forget all these dead: but the gibbering host
             Make the struggle in vain,
In each shadowy corner, there lurketh a ghost.


Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.

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