[Editor: This poem by Charles Harpur was published in The Bushrangers; A Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems (1853).]
Paler, paler, day by day,
Waxeth wordless Eva Gray,
Wasting through the heart away!
How shall those who wish her well,
Lift the shadow erst that fell
Round her from Love’s darken’d spell?
Would they have her feast with Song?
Ah! its voices but prolong
Like far echoes Memory’s wrong.
Would they to beguile her leisure
Sweet reliefs in music measure?
Music dreams of foregone pleasure.
Would they lure her where the spring
Gives the unshadow’d heart to wing
Upward like a bird and sing?
Still paler, paler, day by day,
Waxeth gentle Eva Gray, —
Wasting like a cloud away.
Charles Harpur, The Bushrangers; A Play in Five Acts, and Other Poems, Sydney: W. R. Piddington, 1853, pages 101-102
erst = (archaic form of “erstwhile”) long ago, in the past, formerly (may also mean: at first)
waxeth = (archaic spelling of “waxes”) to wax: grow or increase gradually in intensity, number, size, strength, or volume (e.g. “the moonlight waxed and waned”); or to take on a particular characteristic or state (e.g. “to wax poetic”; often used in the context of someone speaking at length)