The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2
Burton Egbert Stevenson

Part 12 out of 18

For never shall my true love brave
A life of war and toiling,
And never as a skulking slave
I'll tread my native soil on;
But, were it free or to be freed,
The battle's close would find me
To Ireland bound, nor message need
From the girl I left behind me.



When we are parted let me lie
In some far corner of thy heart,
Silent, and from the world apart,
Like a forgotten melody:
Forgotten of the world beside,
Cherished by one, and one alone,
For some loved memory of its own;
So let me in thy heart abide
When we are parted.

When we are parted, keep for me
The sacred stillness of the night;
That hour, sweet Love, is mine by right;
Let others claim the day of thee!
The cold world sleeping at our feet,
My spirit shall discourse with thine; -
When stars upon thy pillow shine,
At thy heart's door I stand and beat,
Though we are parted.

Hamilton Aide [1826-1906]


I sat beside the streamlet,
I watched the water flow,
As we together watched it
One little year ago:
The soft rain pattered on the leaves,
The April grass was wet.
Ah! folly to remember;
'Tis wiser to forget.

The nightingales made vocal
June's palace paved with gold;
I watched the rose you gave me
Its warm red heart unfold;
But breath of rose and bird's song
Were fraught with wild regret.
'Tis madness to remember;
'Twere wisdom to forget.

I stood among the gold corn,
Alas! no more, I knew,
To gather gleaner's measure
Of the love that fell from you.
For me, no gracious harvest -
Would God we ne'er had met!
'Tis hard, Love, to remember,
But 'tis harder to forget.

The streamlet now is frozen,
The nightingales are fled,
The cornfields are deserted,
And every rose is dead.
I sit beside my lonely fire,
And pray for wisdom yet:
For calmness to remember,
Or courage to forget.

Hamilton Aide [1826-1906]


Nancy Dawson, Nancy Dawson,
Not so very long ago
Some one wronged you from sheer love, dear;
Little thinking it would crush, dear,
All I cherished in you so.
But now, what's the odds, my Nancy?
Where's the guinea, there's the fancy.
Are you Nancy, that old Nancy?
Nancy Dawson.

Nancy Dawson, Nancy Dawson,
I forget you, what you were;
Till I feel the sad hours creep, dear,
O'er my heart; as o'er my cheek, dear,
Once of old, that old, old hair:
And then, unawares, my Nancy,
I remember, and I fancy
You are Nancy, that old Nancy;
Nancy Dawson.

Herbert P. Horne [1864-


God keep you safe, my little love,
All through the night.
Rest close in His encircling arms
Until the light.
My heart is with you as I kneel to pray,
"Good night! God keep you in His care alway."

Thick shadows creep like silent ghosts
About my bed.
I lose myself in tender dreams
While overhead
The moon comes stealing through the window bars.
A silver sickle gleaming 'mid the stars.

For I, though I am far away,
Feel safe and strong,
To trust you thus, dear love, and yet
The night is long.
I say with sobbing breath the old fond prayer,
"Good night! Sweet dreams! God keep you everywhere!"

Charles B. Hawley [1858-


Thrice with her lips she touched my lips,
Thrice with her hand my hand,
And three times thrice looked towards the sea,
But never to the land:
Then, "Sweet," she said, "no more delay,
For Heaven forbids a longer stay."

I, with my passion in my heart,
Could find no words to waste;
But striving often to depart,
I strained her to my breast:
Her wet tears washed my weary cheek;
I could have died, but could not speak.

The anchor swings, the sheet flies loose
And, bending to the breeze,
The tall ship, never to return,
Flies through the foaming seas:
Cheerily ho! the sailors cry; -
My sweet love lessening to my eye.

O Love, turn towards the land thy sight!
No more peruse the sea;
Our God, who severs thus our hearts,
Shall surely care for thee:
For me let waste-wide ocean swing,
I too lie safe beneath His wing.

William Caldwell Roscoe [1823-1859]


The little gate was reached at last,
Half hid in lilacs down the lane;
She pushed it wide, and, as she passed,
A wistful look she backward cast,
And said, - "Auf wiedersehen!"

With hand on latch, a vision white
Lingered reluctant, and again
Half doubting if she did aright,
Soft as the dews that fell that night,
She said, - "Auf wiedersehen!"

The lamp's clear gleam flits up the stair;
I linger in delicious pain;
Ah, in that chamber, whose rich air
To breathe in thought I scarcely dare,
Thinks she, - "Auf wiedersehen?" . . .

'Tis thirteen years; once more I press
The turf that silences the lane;
I hear the rustle of her dress,
I smell the lilacs, and - ah, yes,
I hear, - "Auf wiedersehen!"

Sweet piece of bashful maiden art!
The English words had seemed too fain,
But these - they drew us heart to heart,
Yet held us tenderly apart;
She said, - "Auf wiedersehen!"

James Russell Lowell [1819-1891]


I little know or care
If the blackbird on the bough
Is filling all the air
With his soft crescendo now;
For she is gone away,
And when she went she took
The springtime in her look,
The peachblow on her cheek,
The laughter from the brook,
The blue from out the May -
And what she calls a week
Is forever and a day!

It's little that I mind
How the blossoms, pink or white,
At every touch of wind
Fall a-trembling with delight;
For in the leafy lane,
Beneath the garden-boughs,
And through the silent house
One thing alone I seek.
Until she come again
The May is not the May,
And what she calls a week
Is forever and a day!

Thomas Bailey Aldrich [1837-1907]


The white rose tree that spent its musk
For lovers' sweeter praise,
The stately walks we sought at dusk,
Have missed thee many days.

Again, with once-familiar feet,
I tread the old parterre -
But, ah, its bloom is now less sweet
Than when thy face was there.

I hear the birds of evening call;
I take the wild perfume;
I pluck a rose - to let it fall
And perish in the gloom.

Arthur Upson [1877-1908]


Beyond the ferry water
That fast and silent flowed,
She turned, she gazed a moment,
Then took her onward road

Between the winding willows
To a city white with spires;
It seemed a path of pilgrims
To the home of earth's desires.

Blue shade of golden branches
Spread for her journeying,
Till he that lingered lost her
Among the leaves of Spring.

Laurence Binyon [1869 -


Jest a-wearyin' fer you -
All the time a-feelin' blue;
Wishin' fer you - wonderin' when
You'll be comin' home again;
Restless - don't know what to do -
Jest a-wearyin' fer you!

Keep a-mopin' day by day:
Dull - in everybody's way;
Folks they smile an' pass along
Wonderin' what on earth is wrong;
'Twouldn't help 'em if they knew -
Jest a-wearyin' fer you.

Room's so lonesome, with your chair
Empty by the fireplace there,
Jest can't stand the sight o' it!
Go outdoors an' roam a bit:
But the woods is lonesome, too,
Jest a-wearyin' fer you.

Comes the wind with sounds that' jes'
Like the rustlin' o' your dress;
An' the dew on flower an' tree
Tinkles like your steps to me!
Violets, like your eyes so blue -
Jest a-wearyin' fer you!

Mornin' comes, the birds awake
(Them that sung so fer your sake!),
But there's sadness in the notes
That come thrillin' from their throats!
Seem to feel your absence, too -
Jest a-wearyin' fer you.

Evenin' comes: I miss you more
When the dark is in the door;
'Pears jest like you orter be
There to open fer me!
Latch goes tinklin' - thrills me through,
Sets me wearyin' fer you!

. . . . . . . . .

Jest a-wearyin' fer you -
All the time a-feelin' blue!
Wishin' fer you - wonderin' when
You'll be comin' home again;
Restless - don't know what to do -
Jest a-wearyin' fer you!

Frank L. Stanton [1857-1927]


Dominic came riding down, sworded, straight and splendid,
Drave his hilt against her door, flung a golden chain.
Said: "I'll teach your lips a song sweet as his that's ended,
Ere the white rose call the bee, the almond flower again."

But he only saw her head bent within the gloom
Over heaps of bridal thread bright as apple-bloom,
Silver silk like rain that spread across the driving loom.

Dreaming Fanch, the cobbler's son, took his tools and laces,
Wrought her shoes of scarlet dye, shoes as pale as snow;
"They shall lead her wildrose feet all the fairy paces
Danced along the road of love, the road such feet should go" -

But he only saw her eyes turning from his gift
Out towards the silver skies where the white clouds drift,
Where the wild gerfalcon flies, where the last sails lift.

Bran has built his homestead high where the hills may shield her,
Where the young bird waits the spring, where the dawns are fair,
Said: "I'll name my trees for her, since I may not yield her
Stars of morning for her feet, of evening for her hair."

But he did not see them ride, seven dim sail and more,
All along the harbor-side, white from shore to shore,
Nor heard the voices of the tide crying at her door.

Jean-Marie has touched his pipe down beside the river
When the young fox bends the fern, when the folds are still,
Said: "I send her all the gifts that my love may give her, -
Golden notes like golden birds to seek her at my will."

But he only found the waves, heard the sea-gull's cry,
In and out the ocean caves, underneath the sky,
All above the wind-washed graves where dead seamen lie.

Marjorie L. C. Pickthall [1883-1922]


She's somewhere in the sunlight strong,
Her tears are in the falling rain,
She calls me in the wind's soft song,
And with the flowers she comes again.

Yon bird is but her messenger,
The moon is but her silver car;
Yea! sun and moon are sent by her,
And every wistful waiting star.

Richard Le Gallienne [1866-


Now many are the stately ships that northward steam away,
And gray sails northward blow black hulls, and many more are they;
And myriads of viking gulls flap to the northern seas:
But Oh my thoughts that go to you are more than all of these!

The winds blow to the northward like a million eager wings,
The driven sea a million white-capped waves to northward flings:
I send you thoughts more many than the waves that fleck the sea,
More eager than tempestuous winds, O Love long leagues from me!

O Love, long leagues from me, I would I trod the drenched deck
Of some ship speeding to the North and staunch against all wreck,
I would I were a sea-gull strong of wing and void of fear:
Unfaltering and fleet I'd fly the long way to my Dear!

O if I were the sea, upon your northern land I'd beat
Until my waves flowed over all, and kissed your wandering feet;
And if I were the winds, I'd waft you perfumes from the South,
And give my pleadings to your ears, my kisses to your mouth.

Though many ships are sailing, never one will carry me,
I may not hurry northward with the gulls, the winds, the sea;
But fervid thoughts they say can flash across long leagues of blue -
Ah, so my love and longing must be known, Dear Heart, to you!

Shaemas O Sheel [1886-


The dawn is lonely for the sun,
And chill and drear;
The one lone star is pale and wan
As one in fear.

But when day strides across the hills,
The warm blood rushes through
The bared soft bosom of the blue
And all the glad east thrills.

Oh, come, my king! The hounds of joy
Are waiting for thy horn
To chase the doe of heart's desire
Across the heights of morn.

Oh, come, my Sun, and let me know
The rapture of the day!
Oh, come, my love! Oh, come, my love!
Thou art so long away!

Richard Hovey [1864-1900]


Little lady of my heart!
Just a little longer,
Love me: we will pass and part,
Ere this love grow stronger.

I have loved thee, Child! too well,
To do aught but leave thee:
Nay! my lips should never tell
Any tale to grieve thee.

Little lady of my heart!
Just a little longer
I may love thee: we will part
Ere my love grow stronger.

Soon thou leavest fairy-land;
Darker grow thy tresses:
Soon no more of hand in hand;
Soon no more caresses!

Little lady of my heart!
Just a little longer
Be a child; then we will part,
Ere this love grow stronger.

Ernest Dowson [1867-1900]


Marian Drury, Marian Drury,
How are the marshes full of the sea!
Acadie dreams of your coming home
All year through, and her heart gets free, -

Free on the trail of the wind to travel,
Search and course with the roving tide,
All year long where his hands unravel
Blossom and berry the marshes hide.

Marian Drury, Marian Drury,
How are the marshes full of the surge!
April over the Norland now
Walks in the quiet from verge to verge.

Burying, brimming, the building billows
Fret the long dikes with uneasy foam.
Drenched with gold weather, the idling willows
Kiss you a hand from the Norland home.

Marian Drury, Marian Drury,
How are the marshes full of the sun!
Blomidon waits for your coming home,
All day long where the white wings run.

All spring through they falter and follow,
Wander, and beckon the roving tide,
Wheel and float with the veering swallow,
Lift you a voice from the blue hillside.

Marian Drury, Marian Drury,
How are the marshes full of the rain!
April over the Norland now
Bugles for rapture, and rouses pain, -

Halts before the forsaken dwelling,
Where in the twilight, too spent to roam,
Love, whom the fingers of death are quelling,
Cries you a cheer from the Norland home.

Marian Drury, Marian Drury,
How are the marshes filled with you!
Grand Pre dreams of your coming home, -
Dreams while the rainbirds all night through,

Far in the uplands calling to win you,
Tease the brown dusk on the marshes wide;
And never the burning heart within you
Stirs in your sleep by the roving tide.

Bliss Carman [1861-1929]


All day I tell my rosary
For now my love's away:
To-morrow he shall come to me
About the break of day;
A rosary of twenty hours,
And then a rose of May;
A rosary of fettered flowers,
And then a holy-day.

All day I tell my rosary,
My rosary of hours:
And here's a flower of memory,
And here's a hope of flowers,
And here's an hour that yearns with pain
For old forgotten years,
An hour of loss, an hour of gain,
And then a shower of tears.

All day I tell my rosary,
Because my love's away;
And never a whisper comes to me,
And never a word to say;
But, if it's parting more endears,
God bring him back, I pray;
Or my heart will break in the darkness
Before the break of day.

All day I tell my rosary,
My rosary of hours,
Until an hour shall bring to me
The hope of all the flowers . . .
I tell my rosary of hours,
For O, my love's away;
And - a dream may bring him back to me
About the break of day.

Alfred Noyes [1880-


When she comes home again! A thousand ways
I fashion, to myself, the tenderness
Of my glad welcome: I shall tremble - yes;
And touch her, as when first in the old days
I touched her girlish hand, nor dared upraise
Mine eyes, such was my faint heart's sweet distress
Then silence: and the perfume of her dress:
The room will sway a little, and a haze
Cloy eyesight - soul-sight, even - for a space;
And tears - yes; and the ache here in the throat,
To know that I so ill deserve the place
Her arms make for me; and the sobbing note
I stay with kisses, ere the tearful face
Again is hidden in the old embrace.

James Whitcomb Riley [1849-1916]



My silks and fine array,
My smiles and languished air,
By Love are driven away;
And mournful lean Despair
Brings me yew to deck my grave:
Such end true lovers have.

His face is fair as heaven
When springing buds unfold:
O why to him was't given,
Whose heart is wintry cold?
His breast is Love's all-worshipped tomb,
Where all Love's pilgrims come.

Bring me an ax and spade,
Bring me a winding-sheet;
When I my grave have made,
Let winds and tempests beat:
Then down I'll lie, as cold as clay:
True love doth pass away!

William Blake [1757-1827]


When the lamp is shattered
The light in the dust lies dead -
When the cloud is scattered,
The rainbow's glory is shed.
When the lute is broken,
Sweet tones are remembered not;
When the lips have spoken,
Loved accents are soon forgot.

As music and splendor
Survive not the lamp and the lute,
The heart's echoes render
No song when the spirit is mute -
No song but sad dirges,
Like the wind through a ruined cell,
Or the mournful surges
That ring the dead seaman's knell.

When hearts have once mingled,
Love first leaves the well-built nest;
The weak one is singled
To endure what it once possessed.
O Love! who bewailest
The frailty of all things here,
Why choose you the frailest
For your cradle, your home, and your bier?

Its passions will rock thee
As the storms rock the ravens on high;
Bright reason will mock thee,
Like the sun from a wintry sky.
From thy nest every rafter
Will rot, and thine eagle home
Leave thee naked to laughter,
When leaves fall and cold winds come.

Percy Bysshe Shelley [1792-1822]


Farewell! if ever fondest prayer
For other's weal availed on high,
Mine will not all be lost in air,
But waft thy name beyond the sky.
'Twere vain to speak, to weep, to sigh:
Oh! more than tears of blood can tell,
When wrung from guilt's expiring eye,
Are in that word - Farewell! - Farewell!

These lips are mute, these eyes are dry:
But in my breast and in my brain
Awake the pangs that pass not by,
The thought that ne'er shall sleep again.
My soul nor deigns nor dares complain,
Though grief and passion there rebel:
I only know we loved in vain -
I only feel - Farewell! - Farewell!

George Gordon Byron [1788-1824]


The rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listened with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeled and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soiled gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And called me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o'er all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved me - she
Too weak, for all her heart's endeavor,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me for ever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-night's gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I looked up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipped me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughed the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightened next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushed bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propped her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorned at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gained instead!
Porphyria's love: she guessed not how
Her darling one wish would he heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!

Robert Browning [1812-1889]


I am the torch, she saith, and what to me
If the moth die of me? I am the flame
Of Beauty, and I burn that all may see
Beauty, and I have neither joy nor shame.
But live with that clear light of perfect fire
Which is to men the death of their desire.

I am Yseult and Helen, I have seen
Troy burn, and the most loving knight lies dead.
The world has been my mirror, time has been
My breath upon the glass; and men have said,
Age after age, in rapture and despair,
Love's poor few words, before my image there.

I live, and am immortal; in my eyes
The sorrow of the world, and on my lips
The joy of life, mingle to make me wise;
Yet now the day is darkened with eclipse:
Who is there lives for beauty? Still am I
The torch, but where's the moth that still dares die?

Arthur Symons [1865-


O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow
With anguish moist and fever-dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful - a fairy's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

I set her on my pacing steed
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A fairy's song.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said,
"I love thee true."

She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore;
And there I shut her wild, wild eyes
With kisses four.

And there she lulled me asleep,
And there I dreamed - Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dreamed
On the cold hill's side.

I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all:
They cried - "La belle dame sans merci
Hath thee in thrall!"

I saw their starved lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here
On the cold hill's side.

And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

John Keats [1795-1821]


"If I may trust your love," she cried,
"And you would have me for a bride,
Ride over yonder plain, and bring
Your flask full from the Mustang spring;
Fly, fast as western eagle's wing,
O'er the Llano Estacado!"

He heard, and bowed without a word,
His gallant steed he lightly spurred!
He turned his face, and rode away
Toward the grave of dying day,
And vanished with its parting ray
On the Llano Estacado.

Night came, and found him riding on,
Day came, and still he rode alone.
He spared not spur, he drew not rein,
Across that broad, unchanging plain,
Till he the Mustang spring might gain,
On the Llano Estacado.

A little rest, a little draught,
Hot from his hand, and quickly quaffed,
His flask was filled, and then he turned.
Once more his steed the maguey spurned,
Once more the sky above him burned,
On the Llano Estacado.

How hot the quivering landscape glowed!
His brain seemed boiling as he rode -
Was it a dream, a drunken one,
Or was he really riding on?
Was that a skull that gleamed and shone
On the Llano Estacado?

"Brave steed of mine, brave steed!" he cried,
"So often true, so often tried,
Bear up a little longer yet!"
His mouth was black with blood and sweat -
Heaven! how he longed his lips to wet
On the Llano Estacado.

And still, within his breast, he held
The precious flask so lately filled.
Oh, for a drink! But well he knew
If empty it should meet her view,
Her scorn - but still his longing grew
On the Llano Estacado.

His horse went down. He wandered on,
Giddy, blind, beaten, and alone.
While upon cushioned couch you lie,
Oh, think how hard it is to die,
Beneath the cruel, cloudless sky
On the Llano Estacado.

At last he staggered, stumbled, fell,
His day was done, he knew full well,
And raising to his lips the flask,
The end, the object of his task,
Drank to her - more she could not ask.
Ah, the Llano Estacado!

That night in the Presidio,
Beneath the torchlight's wavy glow,
She danced - and never thought of him,
The victim of a woman's whim,
Lying, with face upturned and grim,
On the Llano Estacado.

Joaquin Miller [1839-1913]


I went to her who loveth me no more,
And prayed her bear with me, if so she might;
For I had found day after day too sore,
And tears that would not cease night after night.
And so I prayed her, weeping, that she bore
To let me be with her a little; yea,
To soothe myself a little with her sight,
Who loved me once, ah many a night and day.

Then she who loveth me no more, maybe
She pitied somewhat: and I took a chain
To bind myself to her, and her to me;
Yea, so that I might call her mine again.
Lo! she forbade me not; but I and she
Fettered her fair limbs, and her neck more fair,
Chained the fair wasted white of love's domain.
And put gold fetters on her golden hair.

Oh! the vain joy it is to see her lie
Beside me once again; beyond release,
Her hair, her hand, her body, till she die,
All mine, for me to do with what I please!
For, after all, I find no chain whereby
To chain her heart to love me as before,
Nor fetter for her lips, to make them cease
From saying still she loveth me no more.

Arthur O'Shaughnessy [1844-1881]


When the sheep are in the fauld, and the kye at hame,
And a' the warld to rest are gane,
The waes o' my heart fa' in showers frae my e'e,
While my gudeman lies sound by me.

Young Jamie lo'ed me weel, and sought me for his bride;
But saving a croun he had naething else beside:
To make the croun a pund, young Jamie gaed to sea;
And the croun and the pund were baith for me.

He hadna been awa' a week but only twa,
When my father brak his arm, and the kye was stown awa';
My mother she fell sick, - and my Jamie at the sea -
And auld Robin Gray came a-courtin' me.

My father couldna work, and my mother couldna spin;
I toiled day and night, but their bread I couldna win;
Auld Rob maintained them baith, and wi' tears in his e'e
Said, "Jennie, for their sakes, O, marry me!"

My heart it said nay; I looked for Jamie back;
But the wind it blew high, and the ship it was a wrack;
His ship it was a wrack - Why didna Jamie dee?
Or why do I live to cry, Wae's me!

My father urged me sair: my mother didna speak;
But she looked in my face till my heart was like to break:
They gi'ed him my hand, though my heart was in the sea;
Sae auld Robin Gray he was gudeman to me.

I hadna been a wife a week but only four,
When mournfu' as I sat on the stane at the door,
I saw my Jamie's wraith, - for I couldna think it he,
Till he said, "I'm come hame to marry thee."

O, sair, sair did we greet, and muckle did we say;
We took but ae kiss, and we tore ourselves away:
I wish that I were dead, but I'm no like to dee;
And why was I born to say, Wae's me!

I gang like a ghaist, and I carena to spin;
I daurna think on Jamie, for that wad be a sin;
But I'll do my best a gude wife aye to be,
For auld Robin Gray he is kind unto me.

Anne Barnard [1750-1825]


My heart is chilled and my pulse is slow,
But often and often will memory go,
Like a blind child lost in a waste of snow,
Back to the days when I loved you so -
The beautiful long ago.

I sit here dreaming them through and through,
The blissful moments I shared with you -
The sweet, sweet days when our love was new,
When I was trustful and you were true -
Beautiful days, but few!

Blest or wretched, fettered or free,
Why should I care how your life may be,
Or whether you wander by land or sea?
I only know you are dead to me,
Ever and hopelessly.

Oh, how often at day's decline
I pushed from my window the curtaining vine,
To see from your lattice the lamp-light shine -
Type of a message that, half divine,
Flashed from your heart to mine.

Once more the starlight is silvering all;
The roses sleep by the garden wall;
The night bird warbles his madrigal,
And I hear again through the sweet air fall
The evening bugle-call.

But summers will vanish and years will wane,
And bring no light to your window pane;
Nor gracious sunshine nor patient rain
Can bring dead love back to life again:
I call up the past in vain.

My heart is heavy, my heart is old,
And that proves dross which I counted gold;
I watch no longer your curtain's fold;
The window is dark and the night is cold,
And the story forever told.

Elizabeth Akers [1832-1911]


It was nothing but a rose I gave her, -
Nothing but a rose
Any wind might rob of half its savor,
Any wind that blows.

When she took it from my trembling fingers
With a hand as chill -
Ah, the flying touch upon them lingers,
Stays, and thrills them still!

Withered, faded, pressed between the pages,
Crumpled fold on fold, -
Once it lay upon her breast, and ages
Cannot make it old!

Harriet Prescott Spofford [1835-1921]


Love, when all the years are silent, vanished quite and laid to rest,
When you and I are sleeping, folded breathless breast to breast,
When no morrow is before us, and the long grass tosses o'er us,
And our grave remains forgotten, or by alien footsteps pressed -

Still that love of ours will linger, that great love enrich the earth,
Sunshine in the heavenly azure, breezes blowing joyous mirth;
Fragrance fanning off from flowers, melody of summer showers,
Sparkle of the spicy wood-fires round the happy autumn hearth.

That's our love. But you and I, dear - shall we linger with it yet,
Mingled in one dew-drop, tangled in one sunbeam's golden net -
On the violet's purple bosom, I the sheen, but you the blossom,
Stream on sunset winds, and be the haze with which some hill is wet?

Or, beloved - if ascending - when we have endowed the world
With the best bloom of our being, whither will our way be whirled,
Through what vast and starry spaces, toward what awful, holy places,
With a white light on our faces, spirit over spirit furled?

Only this our yearning answers: wheresoe'er that way defile,
Not a film shall part us through the eons of that mighty while,
In the fair eternal weather, even as phantoms still together,
Floating, floating, one forever, in the light of God's great smile.

Harriet Prescott Spofford [1835-1921]


The apple trees are hung with gold,
And birds are loud in Arcady,
The sheep lie bleating in the fold,
The wild goat runs across the wold,
But yesterday his love he told,
I know he will come back to me.
O rising moon! O Lady moon!
Be you my lover's sentinel,
You cannot choose but know him well,
For he is shod with purple shoon,
You cannot choose but know my love,
For he a shepherd's crook doth bear,
And he is soft as any dove,
And brown and curly is his hair.

The turtle now has ceased to call
Upon her crimson-footed groom,
The gray wolf prowls about the stall,
The lily's singing seneschal
Sleeps in the lily-bell, and all
The violet hills are lost in gloom.
O risen moon! O holy moon!
Stand on the top of Helice,
And if my own true love you see,
Ah! if you see the purple shoon,
The hazel crook, the lad's brown hair,
The goat-skin wrapped about his arm,
Tell him that I am waiting where
The rushlight glimmers in the Farm.

The falling dew is cold and chill,
And no bird sings in Arcady,
The little fauns have left the hill,
Even the tired daffodil
Has closed its gilded doors, and still
My lover comes not back to me.
False moon! False moon! O waning moon!
Where is my own true lover gone,
Where are the lips vermilion,
The shepherd's crook, the purple shoon?
Why spread that silver pavilion,
Why wear that veil of drifting mist?
Ah! thou hast young Endymion,
Thou hast the lips that should be kissed!

Oscar Wilde [1856-1900]


I went out to the farthest meadow,
I lay down in the deepest shadow;

And I said unto the earth, "Hold me,"
And unto the night, "O enfold me!"

And unto the wind petulantly
I cried, "You know not for you are free!"

And I begged the little leaves to lean
Low and together for a safe screen;

Then to the stars I told my tale:
"That is my home-light, there in the vale,

"And O, I know that I shall return,
But let me lie first mid the unfeeling fern;

"For there is a flame that has blown too near,
And there is a name that has grown too dear,
And there is a fear" . . . .

And to the still hills and cool earth and far sky I made moan,
"The heart in my bosom is not my own!

"O would I were free as the wind on wing;
Love is a terrible thing!"

Grace Fallow Norton [1876-


"Who is it knocking in the night,
That fain would enter in?"
"The ghost of Lost Delight am I,
The sin you would not sin,
Who comes to look in your two eyes
And see what might have been."

"Oh, long ago and long ago
I cast you forth," he said,
"For that your eyes were all too blue,
Your laughing mouth too red,
And my torn soul was tangled in
The tresses of your head."

"Now mind you with what bitter words
You cast me forth from you?"
"I bade you back to that fair Hell
From whence your breath you drew,
And with great blows I broke my heart
Lest it might follow too.

"Yea, from the grasp of your white hands
I freed my hands that day,
And have I not climbed near to God
As these His henchmen may?"
"Ah, man, - ah, man! 'twas my two hands
That led you all the way."

"I hid my eyes from your two eyes
That they might see aright."
"Yet think you 'twas a star that led
Your feet from height to height?
It was the flame of my two eyes
That drew you through the night."

With trembling hands he threw the door,
Then fell upon his knee:
"O, Vision armed and cloaked in light,
Why do you honor me?"
"The Angel of your Strength am I
Who was your sin," quoth she.

"For that you slew me long ago
My hands have raised you high;
For that mine eyes you closed, mine eyes
Are lights to lead you by;
And 'tis my touch shall swing the gates
Of Heaven when you die!"

Theodosia Garrison [1874-


Love came back at fall o' dew,
Playing his old part;
But I had a word or two,
That would break his heart.

"He who comes at candlelight,
That should come before,
Must betake him to the night
From a barred door."

This the word that made us part
In the fall o' dew;
This the word that brake his heart -
Yet it brake mine, too!

Lizette Woodworth Reese [1856-1935]


When I am dead and over me bright April
Shakes out her rain-drenched hair,
Though you should lean above me broken-hearted,
I shall not care.

I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful
When rain bends down the bough,
And I shall be more silent and cold-hearted
Than you are now.

Sara Teasdale [1884-1933]


Nay, you wrong her, my friend, she's not fickle; her love
she has simply outgrown:
One can read the whole matter, translating her heart
by the light of one's own.

Can you bear me to talk with you frankly? There is much that
my heart would say;
And you know we were children together, have quarreled
and "made up" in play.

And so, for the sake of old friendship, I venture to tell you
the truth, -
As plainly, perhaps, and as bluntly, as I might in our
earlier youth.

Five summers ago, when you wooed her, you stood on the
selfsame plane,
Face to face, heart to heart, never dreaming your souls
should be parted again.

She loved you at that time entirely, in the bloom, of her life's
early May;
And it is not her fault, I repeat it, that she does not love you

Nature never stands still, nor souls either: they ever go up
or go down;
And hers has been steadily soaring - but how has it been
with your own?

She has struggled and yearned and aspired, grown purer and wiser each year:
The stars are not farther above you in yon luminous atmosphere!

For she whom you crowned with fresh roses, down yonder, five summers ago,
Has learned that the first of our duties to God and ourselves is to grow.

Her eyes they are sweeter and calmer: but their vision is clearer as well;
Her voice has a tender cadence, but is pure as a silver bell.

Her face has the look worn by those who with God and his angels have talked:
The white robes she wears are less white than the spirits with whom she has walked.

And you? Have you aimed at the highest? Have you, too,
aspired and prayed?
Have you looked upon evil unsullied? Have you conquered it

Have you, too, grown purer and wiser, as the months
and the years have rolled on?
Did you meet her this morning rejoicing in the triumph
of victory won?

Nay, hear me! The truth cannot harm you. When to-day
in her presence you stood
Was the hand that you gave her as white and clean as that
of her womanhood?

Go measure yourself by her standard; look back on the years
that have fled:
Then ask, if you need, why she tells you that the love of her
girlhood is dead.

She cannot look down to her lover: her love, like her soul, aspires;
He must stand by her side, or above her, who would kindle its
holy fires.

Now farewell! For the sake of old friendship I have ventured
to tell you the truth,
As plainly, perhaps, and as bluntly as I might in our earlier youth.

Julia C. R. Dorr [1825-1913]


Among his books he sits all day
To think and read and write;
He does not smell the new-mown hay,
The roses red and white.

I walk among them all alone,
His silly, stupid wife;
The world seems tasteless, dead and done -
An empty thing is life.

At night his window casts a square
Of light upon the lawn;
I sometimes walk and watch it there
Until the chill of dawn.

I have no brain to understand
The books he loves to read;
I only have a heart and hand
He does not seem to need.

He calls me "Child" - lays on my hair
Thin fingers, cold and mild;
Oh! God of Love, who answers prayer,
I wish I were a child!

And no one sees and no one knows
(He least would know or see),
That ere Love gathers next year's rose
Death will have gathered me.

Edith Nesbit [1858-1924]


It was the autumn of the year;
The strawberry-leaves were red and sere;
October's airs were fresh and chill,
When, pausing on the windy hill,
The hill that overlooks the sea,
You talked confidingly to me, -
Me whom your keen, artistic sight
Has not yet learned to read aright,
Since I have veiled my heart from you,
And loved you better than you knew.

You told me of your toilsome past;
The tardy honors won at last,
The trials borne, the conquests gained,
The longed-for boon of Fame attained;
I knew that every victory
But lifted you away from me,
That every step of high emprise
But left me lowlier in your eyes;
I watched the distance as it grew,
And loved you better than you knew.

You did not see the bitter trace
Of anguish sweep across my face;
You did not hear my proud heart beat,
Heavy and slow, beneath your feet;
You thought of triumphs still unwon,
Of glorious deeds as yet undone;
And I, the while you talked to me,
I watched the gulls float lonesomely,
Till lost amid the hungry blue,
And loved you better than you knew.

You walk the sunny side of fate;
The wise world smiles, and calls you great;
The golden fruitage of success
Drops at your feet in plenteousness;
And you have blessings manifold: -
Renown and power and friends and gold, -
They build a wall between us twain,
Which may not be thrown down again,
Alas! for I, the long years through,
Have loved you better than you knew.

Your life's proud aim, your art's high truth,
Have kept the promise of your youth;
And while you won the crown, which now
Breaks into bloom upon your brow,
My soul cried strongly out to you
Across the ocean's yearning blue,
While, unremembered and afar,
I watched you, as I watch a star
Through darkness struggling into view,
And loved you better than you knew.

I used to dream in all these years
Of patient faith and silent tears,
That Love's strong hand would put aside
The barriers of place and pride,
Would reach the pathless darkness through,
And draw me softly up to you;
But that is past. If you should stray
Beside my grave, some future day,
Perchance the violets o'er my dust
Will half betray their buried trust,
And say, their blue eyes full of dew,
"She loved you better than you knew."

Elizabeth Akers [1832-1911]


Come, dear children, let us away;
Down and away below!
Now my brothers call from the bay,
Now the great winds shoreward blow,
Now the salt tides seaward flow;
Now the wild white horses play,
Champ and chafe and toss in the spray.
Children dear, let us away!
This way, this way!

Call her once before you go. -
Call once yet!
In a voice that she will know:
"Margaret! Margaret!"
Children's voices should be dear
(Call once more) to a mother's ear;
Children's voices, wild with pain, -
Surely she will come again!
Call her once and come away;
This way, this way!
"Mother dear, we cannot stay!
The wild white horses foam and fret."
Margaret! Margaret!

Come, dear children, come away down;
Call no more!
One last look at the white-walled town,
And the little gray church on the windy shore;
Then come down!
She will not come, though you call all day;
Come away, come away!

Children dear, was it yesterday
We heard the sweet bells over the bay?
In the caverns where we lay,
Through the surf and through the swell,
The far-off sound of a silver bell?
Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep,
Where the winds are all asleep;
Where the spent lights quiver and gleam,
Where the salt weed sways in the stream,
Where the sea-beasts, ranged all round,
Feed in the ooze of their pasture-ground;
Where the sea-snakes coil and twine,
Dry their mail and bask in the brine;
Where great whales come sailing by,
Sail and sail, with unshut eye,
Round the world for ever and aye?
When did music come this way?
Children dear, was it yesterday?

Children dear, was it yesterday
(Call yet once) that she went away?
Once she sate with you and me,
On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea,
And the youngest sate on her knee.
She combed its bright hair, and she tended it well,
When down swung the sound of the far-off bell.
She sighed, she looked up through the clear green sea;
She said: "I must go, for my kinsfolk pray
In the little gray church on the shore to-day.
'Twill he Easter-time in the world, - ah me!
And I lose my poor soul, Merman, here with thee."
I said: "Go up, dear heart, through the waves:
Say thy prayer, and come back to the kind sea-caves!"
She smiled, she went up through the surf in the bay.
Children dear, was it yesterday?

Children dear, were we long alone?
"The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan;
Long prayers," I said, "in the world they say;
Come!" I said, and we rose through the surf in the bay.
We went up the beach, by the sandy down
Where the sea-stocks bloom, to the white-walled town,
Through the narrow paved streets, where all was still,
To the little gray church on the windy hill.
From the church came a murmur of folk at their prayers,
But we stood without in the cold blowing airs.
We climbed on the graves, on the stones worn with rains,
And we gazed up the aisle through the small leaded panes.
She sate by the pillar; we saw her clear:
"Margaret, hist! come quick, we are here!
Dear heart," I said, "we are long alone;
The sea grows stormy, the little ones moan."
But, ah, she gave me never a look,
For her eyes were sealed to the holy book!
Loud prays the priest; shut stands the door.
Come away, children, call no more!
Come away, come down, call no more!

Down, down, down!
Down to the depths of the sea!
She sits at her wheel in the humming town,
Singing most joyfully.
Hark what she sings: "O joy, O joy,
From the humming street, and the child with its toy!
From the priest, and the bell, and the holy well;
From the wheel where I spun,
And the blessed light of the sun!"
And so she sings her fill,
Singing most joyfully,
Till the spindle drops from her hand,
And the whizzing wheel stands still.
She steals to the window, and looks at the sand,
And over the sand at the sea;
And her eyes are set in a stare,
And anon there breaks a sigh,
And anon there drops a tear,
From a sorrow-clouded eye,
And a heart sorrow-laden,
A long, long sigh;
For the cold strange eyes of a little Mermaiden,
And the gleam of her golden hair.

Come away, away, children;
Come, children, come down!
The hoarse wind blows colder;
Lights shine in the town.
She will start from her slumber
When gusts shake the door;
She will hear the winds howling,
Will hear the waves roar.
We shall see, while above us
The waves roar and whirl,
A ceiling of amber,
A pavement of pearl.
Singing: "Here came a mortal,
But faithless was she!
And alone dwell for ever
The kings of the sea."

But, children, at midnight,
When soft the winds blow,
When clear falls the moonlight,
When spring-tides are low;
When sweet airs come seaward
From heaths starred with broom,
And high rocks throw mildly
On the blanched sands a gloom;
Up the still, glistening beaches,
Up the creeks we will hie;
Over banks of bright seaweed
The ebb-tide leaves dry.
We will gaze, from the sand-hills,
At the white, sleeping town;
At the church on the hillside -
And then come back down.
Singing: "There dwells a loved one,
But cruel is she!
She left lonely for ever
The kings of the sea."

Matthew Arnold [1822-1888]


Midnight past! Not a sound of aught
Through the silent house, but the wind at his prayers.
I sat by the dying fire, and thought
Of the dear dead woman up-stairs.

A night of tears! for the gusty rain
Had ceased, but the eaves were dripping yet;
And the moon looked forth, as though in pain,
With her face all white and wet:

Nobody with me, my watch to keep,
But the friend of my bosom, the man I love:
And grief had sent him fast to sleep
In the chamber up above.

Nobody else, in the country place
All round, that knew of my loss beside,
But the good young Priest with the Raphael-face,
Who confessed her when she died.

That good young Priest is of gentle nerve,
And my grief had moved him beyond control;
For his lip grew white, as I could observe,
When he speeded her parting soul.

I sat by the dreary hearth alone:
I thought of the pleasant days of yore:
I said, "The staff of my life is gone:
The woman I loved is no more.

"On her cold dead bosom my portrait lies,
Which next to her heart she used to wear -
Haunting it o'er with her tender eyes
When my own face was not there.

"It is set all round with rubies red,
And pearls which a Pen might have kept.
For each ruby there my heart hath bled:
For each pearl my eyes have wept."

And I said - The thing is precious to me:
They will bury her soon in the churchyard clay;
It lies on her heart, and lost must be
If I do not take it away."

I lighted my lamp at the dying flame,
And crept up the stairs that creaked for fright,
Till into the chamber of death I came,
Where she lay all in white.

The moon shone over her winding-sheet,
There stark she lay on her carven bed:
Seven burning tapers about her feet,
And seven about her head.

As I stretched my hand, I held my breath;
I turned as I drew the curtains apart:
I dared not look on the face of death:
I knew where to find her heart.

I thought at first, as my touch fell there,
It had warmed that heart to life, with love;
For the thing I touched was warm, I swear,
And I could feel it move.

'Twas the hand of a man, that was moving slow
O'er the heart of the dead, - from the other side:
And at once the sweat broke over my brow:
"Who is robbing the corpse?" I cried.

Opposite me by the tapers' light,
The friend of my bosom, the man I loved,
Stood over the corpse, and all as white,
And neither of us moved.

"What do you here, my friend?". . .The man
Looked first at me, and then at the dead.
"There is a portrait here," he began:
"There is. It is mine," I said.

Said the friend of my bosom, "Yours, no doubt,
The portrait was, till a month ago,
When this suffering angel took that out,
And placed mine there, I know."

"This woman, she loved me well," said I.
"A month ago," said my friend to me:
"And in your throat," I groaned, "you lie!"
He answered, . . . "Let us see."

"Enough!" I returned, "let the dead decide:
And whosesoever the portrait prove,
His shall it be, when the cause is tried,
Where Death is arraigned by Love."

We found the portrait there, in its place:
We opened it by the tapers' shine:
The gems were all unchanged: the face
Was - neither his nor mine.

"One nail drives out another, at least!
The face of the portrait there," I cried,
"Is our friend's, the Raphael-faced young Priest,
Who confessed her when she died."

The setting is all of rubies red,
And pearls which a Peri might have kept.
For each ruby there my heart hath bled:
For each pearl my eyes have wept.

Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton [1831-1891]


She's loveliest of the festal throng
In delicate form and Grecian face, -
A beautiful, incarnate song,
A marvel of harmonious grace;
And yet I know the truth I speak:
From those gay groups she stands apart,
A rose upon her tender cheek,
A thorn within her heart.

Though bright her eyes' bewildering gleams,
Fair tremulous lips and shining hair,
A something born of mournful dreams
Breathes round her sad enchanted air;
No blithesome thoughts at hide and seek
From out her dimples smiling start;
If still the rose be on her cheek,
A thorn is in her heart.

Young lover, tossed 'twixt hope and fear,
Your whispered vow and yearning eyes
Yon marble Clytie pillared near
Could move as soon to soft replies:
Or, if she thrill at words you speak,
Love's memory prompts the sudden start;
The rose has paled upon her cheek,
The thorn has pierced her heart.

Paul Hamilton Hayne [1830-1886]


Go to him, ah, go to him, and lift your eyes aglow to him;
Fear not royally to give whatever he may claim;
All your spirit's treasury scruple not to show to him.
He is noble; meet him with a pride too high for shame.

Say to him, ah, say to him, that soul and body sway to him;
Cast away the cowardice that counsels you to flight,
Lest you turn at last to find that you have lost the way to him,
Lest you stretch your arms in vain across a starless night.

Be to him, ah, be to him, the key that sets joy free to him,
Teach him all the tenderness that only love can know,
And if ever there should come a memory of me to him,
Bid him judge me gently for the sake of long ago.

Amelia Josephine Burr [1878-


So far as our story approaches the end,
Which do you pity the most of us three? -
My friend, or the mistress of my friend
With her wanton eyes, or me?

My friend was already too good to lose,
And seemed in the way of improvement yet,
When she crossed his path with her hunting-noose,
And over him drew her net.

When I saw him tangled in her toils,
A shame, said I, if she adds just him
To her nine-and-ninety other spoils,
The hundredth for a whim!

And before my friend be wholly hers,
How easy to prove to him, I said,
An eagle's the game her pride prefers,
Though she snaps at a wren instead!

So, I gave her eyes my own eyes to take,
My hand sought hers as in earnest need,
And round she turned for my noble sake,
And gave me herself indeed.

The eagle am I, with my fame in the world,
The wren is he, with his maiden face.
- You look away and your lip is curled?
Patience, a moment's space!

For see, my friend goes shaking and white;
He eyes me as the basilisk:
I have turned, it appears, his day to night,
Eclipsing his sun's disk.

And I did it, he thinks, as a very thief:
"Though I love her - that, he comprehends -
One should master one's passions, (love, in chief)
And be loyal to one's friends!"

And she, - she lies in my hand as tame
As a pear late basking over a wall;
Just a touch to try and off it came;
'Tis mine, - can I let it fall?

With no mind to eat it, that's the worst!
Were it thrown in the road, would the case assist?
'Twas quenching a dozen blue-flies' thirst
When I gave its stalk a twist.

And I, - what I seem to my friend, you see:
What I soon shall seem to his love, you guess:
What I seem to myself, do you ask of me?
No hero I confess.

'Tis an awkward thing to play with souls,
And matter enough to save one's own:
Yet think of my friend, and the burning coals
He played with for bits of stone!

One likes to show the truth for the truth;
That the woman was light is very true:
But suppose she says, - Never mind that youth!
What wrong have I done to you?

Well, anyhow, here the story stays,
So far at least as I understand;
And, Robert Browning, you writer of plays,
Here's a subject made to your hand!

Robert Browning [1812-1889]


The chain I gave was fair to view,
The lute I added sweet in sound,
The heart that offered both was true,
And ill deserved the fate it found.

These gifts were charmed by secret spell
Thy truth in absence to divine;
And they have done their duty well,
Alas! they could not teach thee thine.

That chain was firm in every link,
But not to bear a stranger's touch;
That lute was sweet - till thou couldst think
In other hands its notes were such.

Let him, who from thy neck unbound
The chain which shivered in his grasp,
Who saw that lute refuse to sound,
Restring the chords, renew the clasp.

When thou wert changed, they altered too;
The chain is broke, the music mute:
'Tis past - to them and thee adieu -
False heart, frail chain, and silent lute.

George Gordon Byron [1788-1824]


The wind went wooing the rose,
For the rose was fair.
How the rough wind won her, who knows?
But he left her there.
Far away from her grave he blows:
Does the free wind care?

Louise Chandler Moulton [1835-1908]


At sixteen years she knew no care;
How could she, sweet and pure as light?
And there pursued her everywhere
Butterflies all white.

A lover looked. She dropped her eyes
That glowed like pansies wet with dew;
And lo, there came from out the skies
Butterflies all blue.

Before she guessed her heart was gone;
The tale of love was swiftly told;
And all about her wheeled and shone
Butterflies all gold.

Then he forsook her one sad morn;
She wept and sobbed, "Oh, love, come back!"
There only came to her forlorn
Butterflies all black.

John Davidson [1857-1909]


The shadows lay along Broadway,
'Twas near the twilight-tide,
And slowly there a lady fair
Was walking in her pride.
Alone walked she; but, viewlessly,
Walked spirits at her side.

Peace charmed the street beneath her feet,
And Honor charmed the air;
And all astir looked kind on her,
And called her good as fair, -
For all God ever gave to her
She kept with chary care.

She kept with care her beauties rare
From lovers warm and true,
For her heart was cold to all but gold,
And the rich came not to woo -
But honored well are charms to sell
If priests the selling do.

Now walking there was one more fair -
A slight girl, lily-pale;
And she had unseen company
To make the spirit quail:
'Twixt Want and Scorn she walked forlorn,
And nothing could avail.

No mercy now can clear her brow
For this world's peace to pray;
For, as love's wild prayer dissolved in air,
Her woman's heart gave way! -
But the sin forgiven by Christ in heaven
By man is cursed alway!

Nathaniel Parker Willis [1806-1867]


Grandmither, think not I forget, when I come back to town,
An' wander the old ways again, an' tread them up and down.
I never smell the clover bloom, nor see the swallows pass,
Without I mind how good ye were unto a little lass.
I never hear the winter rain a-pelting all night through,
Without I think and mind me of how cold it falls on you.
And if I come not often to your bed beneath the thyme,
Mayhap 'tis that I'd change wi' ye, and gie my bed for thine,
Would like to sleep in thine.

I never hear the summer winds among the roses blow,
Without I wonder why it was ye loved the lassie so.
Ye gave me cakes and lollipops and pretty toys a store, -
I never thought I should come back and ask ye now for more.
Grandmither, gie me your still, white hands, that lie upon your breast,
For mine do beat the dark all night, and never find me rest;
They grope among the shadows, an' they beat the cold black air,
They go seekin' in the darkness, an' they never find him there,
They never find him there.

Grandmither, gie me your sightless eyes, that I may never see
His own a-burnin' full o' love that must not shine for me.
Grandmither, gie me your peaceful lips, white as the kirkyard snow,
For mine be tremblin' wi' the wish that he must never know.
Grandmither, gie me your clay-stopped ears, that I may never hear
My lad a-singin' in the night when I am sick wi' fear;
A-singin' when the moonlight over a' the land is white -
Ah, God! I'll up an' go to him a-singin' in the night,
A-callin' in the night.

Grandmither, gie me your clay-cold heart that has forgot to ache,
For mine be fire within my breast and yet it cannot break.
Wi' every beat it's callin' for things that must not be, -
An' can ye not let me creep in an' rest awhile by ye?
A little lass afeard o' dark slept by ye years agone -
Ah, she has found what night can hold 'twixt sundown an' the dawn!
So when I plant the rose an' rue above your grave for ye,
Ye'll know it's under rue an' rose that I would like to be,
That I would like to be.

Willa Sibert Cather [1875-


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