This night has been so strange that it seemed
as if the hair stood up on my head.
From going-down of the sun I have dreamed
that women laughing, or timid or wild,
in rustle of lace or silken stuff,
climbed up my creaking stair. They had read
all I had rhymed of that monstrous thing
returned and yet unrequited love.
They stood in the door and stood between
my great wood lectern and the fire
till I could hear their hearts beating:
One is a harlot, and one a child
that never looked upon man with desire.
And one, it may be, a queen.