The House of Clay

Original Text: 
Dinah Maria Craik, Poems (Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1866), pp. 142-43. LE C887p. Robarts Library.
1THERE was a house, a house of clay,
2Wherein the inmate sat all day,
3   Merry and poor;
4For Hope sat with her, heart to heart,
5   Fond and kind, fond and kind,
6Vowing he never would depart, --
7   Till all at once he changed his mind:
8"Sweetheart, good by!" He slipped away
9   And shut the door.
10But Love came past, and, looking in,
11With smile that pierced like sunbeam thin
12   Through wall, roof, floor,
13Stood in the midst of that poor room,
14   Grand and fair, grand and fair,
15Making a glory out of gloom: --
16   Till at the window mocked cruel Care:
17Love sighed; "All lose, and nothing win?" --
18   He shut the door.
19Then o'er the close-barred house of clay
20Kind clematis and woodbine gay
21   Crept more and more;
22And bees hummed merrily outside,
23   Loud and strong, loud and strong,
24The inner silentness to hide,
25   The patient silence all day long;
26Till evening touched with finger gray
27   The bolted door.
28Most like, the next step passing by
29Will be the Angel's, whose calm eye
30   Marks rich, marks poor:
31Who, fearing not, at any gate
32   Stands and calls, stands and calls;
33At which the inmate opens straight, --
34   Whom, ere the crumbling clay-house falls,
35He takes in kind arms silently,
36   And shuts the door.
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.