We two kept house, the Past and I, The Past and I; I tended while it hovered nigh, Leaving me never alone. It was a spectral housekeeping Where fell no jarring tone, As strange, as still a housekeeping As ever has been known.
As daily I went up the stair, And down the stair, I did not mind the Bygone there— The Present once to me; Its moving meek companionship I wished might ever be, There was in that companionship Something of ecstasy.
It dwelt with me just as it was, Just as it was When first its prospects gave me pause In wayward wanderings, Before the years had torn old troths As they tear all sweet things, Before gaunt griefs had torn old troths And dulled old rapturings.
And then its form began to fade, Began to fade, Its gentle echoes faintlier played At eves upon my ear Than when the autumn’s look embrowned The lonely chambers here, The autumn’s settling shades embrowned Nooks that it haunted near.
And so with time my vision less, Yea, less and less Makes of that Past my housemistress, It dwindles in my eye; It looms a far-off skeleton And not a comrade nigh, A fitful far-off skeleton Dimming as days draw by.