When Sorrow first came wailing to my door,
April rehearsed the madrigal of May;
And, as I ne'er had seen her face before,
I kept on singing, and she went her way.
When next came Sorrow, life was winged with scent
Of glistening laurel and full-blossoming bay:
I asked, but understood not, what she meant,
Offered her flowers, and she went her way.
When yet a third time Sorrow came, we met
In the ripe silence of an Autumn day:
I gave her fruit I had gathered, and she ate,
Then seemed to go unwillingly away.
When last came Sorrow, around barn and byre
Wind-carven snow, the Year's white sepulchre, lay.
``Come in,'' I said, ``and warm you by the fire.''
And there she sits, and never goes away.