"Why do you sit, O pale thin man,
   At the end of the room
By that harpsichord, built on the quaint old plan?
  --It is cold as a tomb,
And there's not a spark within the grate;
   And the jingling wires
   Are as vain desires
   That have lagged too late."

"Why do I?  Alas, far times ago
   A woman lyred here
In the evenfall; one who fain did so
   From year to year;
And, in loneliness bending wistfully,
   Would wake each note
   In sick sad rote,
   None to listen or see!

"I would not join.  I would not stay,
   But drew away,
Though the winter fire beamed brightly . . . Aye!
   I do to-day
What I would not then; and the chill old keys,
   Like a skull's brown teeth
   Loose in their sheath,
   Freeze my touch; yes, freeze."

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