On A Picture

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As a forlorn soul waiting by the Styx
  Dimly expectant of lands yet more dim,
Might peer afraid where shadows change and mix
  Till the dark ferryman shall come for him.

And past all hope a long ray in his sight,
  Fall'n trickling down the steep crag Hades-black
Reveals an upward path to life and light,
  Nor any let but he should mount that track.

As with the sudden shock of joy amazed,
  He might a motionless sweet moment stand,
So doth that mortal lover, silent, dazed,
  For hope had died and loss was near at hand.

'Wilt thou?' his quest. Unready but for 'Nay,'
He stands at fault for joy, she whispering 'Ay.'

© Jean Ingelow