The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2
Burton Egbert Stevenson

Part 7 out of 18

It winna let a poor body
Gang about his biziness!

To tell my feats this single week
Wad mak a daft-like diary, O!
I drave my cart out owre a dike,
My horses in a miry, O!
I wear my stockings white an' blue,
My love's sae fierce an' fiery, O!
I drill the land that I should pleugh,
An' pleugh the drills entirely, O!

Ae morning, by the dawn o' day,
I rase to theek the stable, O!
I cuist my coat, an' plied away
As fast as I was able, O!
I wrought that morning out an' out,
As I'd been redding fire, O!
When I had done an' looked about,
Gudefaith, it was the byre, O!

Her wily glance I'll ne'er forget,
The dear, the lovely blinkin' o't
Has pierced me through an' through the heart,
An' plagues me wi' the prinkling o't.
I tried to sing, I tried to pray,
I tried to drown 't wi' drinkin' o't,
I tried wi' sport to drive 't away,
But ne'er can sleep for thinkin' o't.

Nae man can tell what pains I prove,
Or how severe my pliskie, O!
I swear I'm sairer drunk wi' love
Than ever I was wi' whiskey, O!
For love has raked me fore an' aft,
I scarce can lift a leggie, O!
I first grew dizzy, then gaed daft,
An' soon I'll dee for Peggy, O!

James Hogg [1770-1835]


Behave yoursel' before folk,
Behave yoursel' before folk,
And dinna be sae rude to me,
As kiss me sae before folk.

It wadna gi'e me meikle pain,
Gin we were seen and heard by nane,
To tak' a kiss, or grant you ane;
But guidsake! no before folk.
Behave yoursel' before folk.
Behave yoursel' before folk;
Whate'er ye do, when out o' view,
Be cautious aye before folk.

Consider, lad, how folk will crack,
And what a great affair they'll mak'
O' naething but a simple smack,
That's gi'en or ta'en before folk.
Behave yoursel' before folk,
Behave yoursel' before folk;
Nor gi'e the tongue o' auld or young
Occasion to come o'er folk.

It's no through hatred o' a kiss,
That I sae plainly tell you this;
But, losh! I tak' it sair amiss
To be sae teased before folk.
Behave yoursel' before folk,
Behave yoursel' before folk;
When we're our lane ye may tak' ane,
But fient a ane before folk.

I'm sure wi' you I've been as free
As ony modest lass should be;
But yet it doesna do to see
Sic freedom used before folk.
Behave yoursel' before folk,
Behave yoursel' before folk;
I'll ne'er submit again to it -
So mind you that - before folk.

Ye tell me that my face is fair;
It may be sae - I dinna care -
But ne'er again gar't blush sae sair
As ye ha'e done before folk.
Behave yoursel' before folk,
Behave yoursel' before folk;
Nor heat my cheeks wi' your mad freaks,
But aye be douce before folk.

Ye tell me that my lips are sweet,
Sic tales, I doubt, are a' deceit;
At ony rate, it's hardly meet
To pree their sweets before folk.
Behave yoursel' before folk,
Behave yoursel' before folk;
Gin that's the case, there's time, and place,
But surely no before folk.

But, gin you really do insist
That I should suffer to be kissed,
Gae, get a license frae the priest,
And mak' me yours before folk.
Behave yoursel' before folk,
Behave yoursel' before folk;
And when we're ane, baith flesh and bane,
Ye may tak' ten - before folk.

Alexander Rodger [1784-1846]


Young Rory O'More courted Kathleen bawn,
He was bold as a hawk, - she as soft as the dawn;
He wished in his heart pretty Kathleen to please,
And he thought the best way to do that was to tease.
"Now, Rory, be aisy," sweet Kathleen would cry
(Reproof on her lip, but a smile in her eye),
"With your tricks I don't know, in troth, what I'm about,
Faith, you've teased till I've put on my cloak inside out."
"Och! jewel," says Rory, "that same is the way
You've thrated my heart for this many a day;
And 'tis plazed that I am, and why not, to be sure?
For 'tis all for good luck," says bold Rory O'More.

"Indeed, then," says Kathleen, "don't think of the like,
For I half gave a promise to soothering Mike;
The ground that I walk on he loves, I'll be bound."
"Faith," says Rory, "I'd rather love you than the ground."
"Now, Rory, I'll cry if you don't let me go;
Sure I drame ev'ry night that I'm hating you so!"
"Oh," says Rory, "that same I'm delighted to hear,
For drames always go by conthrairies, my dear;
So, jewel, keep draming that same till you die,
And bright mornin' will give dirty night the black lie!
And 'tis plazed that I am, and why not, to be sure?
Since 'tis all for good luck," says bold Rory O'More.

"Arrah, Kathleen, my darlint, you've teased me enough,
Sure I've thrashed for your sake Dinny Grimes and Jim Duff;
And I've made myself, drinkin' your health, quite a baste,
So I think, after that, I may talk to the praste."
Then Rory, the rogue, stole his arm round her neck,
So soft and so white, without freckle or speck,
And he looked in her eyes that were beaming with light,
And he kissed her sweet lips; - don't you think he was right?
"Now, Rory, leave off, sir: you'll hug me no more;
That's eight times to-day that you've kissed me before."
"Then here goes another," says he, "to make sure,
For there's luck in odd numbers," says Rory O'More.

Samuel Lover [1797-1868]


"Oh, 'tis time I should talk to your mother,
Sweet Mary," says I;
"Oh, don't talk to my mother," says Mary,
Beginning to cry:
"For my mother says men are deceivers,
And never, I know, will consent;
She says girls in a hurry to marry,
At leisure repent."

"Then, suppose I would talk to your father,
Sweet Mary," says I;
"Oh, don't talk to my father," says Mary,
Beginning to cry:
"For my father he loves me so dearly,
He'll never consent I should go -
If you talk to my father," says Mary,
"He'll surely say, 'No.'"

"Then how shall I get you, my jewel?
Sweet Mary," says I;
"If your father and mother's so cruel,
Most surely I'll die!"
"Oh, never say die, dear," says Mary;
"A way now to save you I see;
Since my parents are both so contrary -
You'd better ask me!"

Samuel Lover [1797-1868]


As beautiful Kitty one morning was tripping,
With a pitcher of milk, from the fair of Coleraine,
When she saw me she stumbled, the pitcher down tumbled,
And all the sweet buttermilk watered the plain.

"Oh! what shall I do now - 'twas looking at you, now;
Sure, sure, such a pitcher I'll ne'er meet again!
'Twas the pride of my dairy! Oh! Barney MacCleary,
You're sent as a plague to the girls of Coleraine."

I sat down beside her and gently did chide her,
That such a misfortune should give her such pain;
A kiss then I gave her, and, ere I did leave her,
She vowed for such pleasure she'd break it again.

'Twas hay-making season - I can't tell the reason -
Misfortunes will never come single, 'tis plain;
For very soon after poor Kitty's disaster
The devil a pitcher was whole in Coleraine.

Charles Dawson Shanly [1811-1875]


Upon ane stormy Sunday,
Coming adoon the lane,
Were a score of bonnie lassies -
And the sweetest I maintain,
Was Caddie,
That I took un'neath my plaidie,
To shield her from the rain.

She said the daisies blushed
For the kiss that I had ta'en;
I wadna hae thought the lassie
Wad sae of a kiss complain;
"Now, laddie!
I winna stay under your plaidie,
If I gang hame in the rain!"

But, on an after Sunday,
When cloud there was not ane,
This self-same winsome lassie
(We chanced to meet in the lane)
Said, "Laddie,
Why dinna ye wear your plaidie?
Wha kens but it may rain?"

Charles Sibley [ ? ]


"Ah, sweet Kitty Neil, rise up from that wheel,
Your neat little foot will be weary from spinning;
Come trip down with me to the sycamore-tree,
Half the parish is there, and the dance is beginning.
The sun is gone down, but the full harvest-moon
Shines sweetly and cool on the dew-whitened valley,
While all the air rings with the soft, loving things
Each little bird sings in the green shaded alley."

With a blush and a smile, Kitty rose up the while,
Her eye in the glass, as she bound her hair, glancing;
'Tis hard to refuse when a young lover sues,
So she couldn't but choose to go off to the dancing.
And now on the green the glad groups are seen,
Each gay-hearted lad with the lass of his choosing;
And Pat, without fail, leads out sweet Kitty Neil, -
Somehow, when he asked, she ne'er thought of refusing.

Now, Felix Magee puts his pipes to his knee,
And with flourish so free sets each couple in motion;
With a cheer and a bound, the lads patter the ground,
The maids move around just like swans on the ocean:
Cheeks bright as the rose - feet light as the doe's,
Now coyly retiring, now boldly advancing -
Search the world all around, from the sky to the ground,
No such sight can be found as an Irish lass dancing!

Sweet Kate! who could view your bright eyes of deep blue,
Beaming humidly through their dark lashes so mildly,
Your fair-turned arm, heaving breast, rounded form,
Nor feel his heart warm, and his pulses throb wildly?
Young Pat feels his heart, as he gazes, depart,
Subdued by the smart of such painful yet sweet love;
The sight leaves his eye, as he cries with a sigh,
"Dance light, for my heart it lies under your feet, love!"

John Francis Waller [1810-1894]


The dule's i' this bonnet o' mine;
My ribbins'll never be reet;
Here, Mally, aw'm like to be fine,
For Jamie'll be comin' to-neet;
He met me i' th' lone t'other day, -
Aw're gooin' for wayter to th' well, -
An' he begged that aw'd wed him i' May; -
Bi th' mass, iv he'll let me, aw will!

When he took my two honds into his,
Good Lord, heaw they trembled between;
An' aw durstn't look up in his face,
Becose on him seein' my e'en;
My cheek went as red as a rose; -
There's never a mortal can tell
Heaw happy aw felt; for, thea knows,
One couldn't ha' axed him theirsel'.

But th' tale wur at th' end o' my tung, -
To let it eawt wouldn't be reet, -
For aw thought to seem forrud wur wrung,
So aw towd him aw'd tell him to-neet;
But Mally, thae knows very weel, -
Though it isn't a thing one should own, -
Iv aw'd th' pikein' o' th' world to mysel',
Aw'd oather ha' Jamie or noan.

Neaw, Mally, aw've towd tho my mind;
What would to do iv't wur thee?
"Aw'd tak him just while he're inclined,
An' a farrantly bargain he'd be;
For Jamie's as gradely a lad
As ever stepped eawt into th' sun; -
Go, jump at thy chance, an' get wed,
An' mak th' best o' th' job when it's done!"

Eh, dear, but it's time to be gwon, -
Aw shouldn't like Jamie to wait;
Aw connut for shame be too soon,
An' aw wouldn't for th' world be too late;
Aw'm a' ov a tremble to th' heel, -
Dost think 'at my bonnet'll do? -
"Be off, lass, - thae looks very weel;
He wants noan o' th' bonnet, thae foo!"

Edwin Waugh [1817-1890]


Not far from old Kinvara, in the merry month of May,
When birds were singing cheerily, there came across my way,
As if from out the sky above an angel chanced to fall,
A little Irish cailin in an ould plaid shawl.

She tripped along right joyously, a basket on her arm;
And oh! her face; and oh! her grace, the soul of saint would charm:
Her brown hair rippled o'er her brow, but greatest charm of all
Was her modest blue eyes beaming 'neath her ould plaid shawl.

I courteously saluted her - "God save you, miss," says I;
"God save you kindly, sir," said she, and shyly passed me by;
Off went my heart along with her, a captive in her thrall,
Imprisoned in the corner of her ould plaid shawl.

Enchanted with her beauty rare, I gazed in pure delight,
Till round an angle of the road she vanished from my sight;
But ever since I sighing say, as I that scene recall,
"The grace of God about you and your ould plaid shawl."

I've heard of highway robbers that with pistols and with knives,
Make trembling travelers yield them up their money or their lives,
But think of me that handed out my heart and head and all
To a simple little cailin in an ould plaid shawl.

Oh! graceful the mantillas that the signorinas wear,
And tasteful are the bonnets of Parisian ladies fair,
But never cloak, or hood, or robe, in palace, bower, or hall,
Clad half such witching beauty as that ould plaid shawl.

Oh! some men sigh for riches, and some men live for fame,
And some on history's pages hope to win a glorious name:
My aims are not ambitious, and my wishes are but small -
You might wrap them all together in an ould plaid shawl.

I'll seek her all through Galway, and I'll seek her all through Clare,
I'll search for tale or tidings of my traveler everywhere,
For peace of mind I'll never find until my own I call
That little Irish cailin in her ould plaid shawl.

Francis A. Fahy [1854-


Oh, 'tis little Mary Cassidy's the cause of all my misery,
And the raison that I am not now the boy I used to be;
Oh, she bates the beauties all that we read about in history,
And sure half the country-side is as hot for her as me.
Travel Ireland up and down, hill, village, vale and town -
Fairer than the Cailin Donn, you're looking for in vain;
Oh, I'd rather live in poverty with little Mary Cassidy
Than emperor, without her, be of Germany or Spain.

'Twas at the dance at Darmody's that first I caught a sight of her,
And heard her sing the "Droighnean Donn," till tears came in my eyes,
And ever since that blessed hour I'm dreaming day and night of her;
The devil a wink of sleep at all I get from bed to rise.
Cheeks like the rose in June, song like the lark in tune,
Working, resting, night or noon, she never leaves my mind;
Oh, till singing by my cabin fire sits little Mary Cassidy,
'Tis little aise or happiness I'm sure I'll ever find.

What is wealth, what is fame, what is all that people fight about
To a kind word from her lips or a love-glance from her eye?
Oh, though troubles throng my breast, sure they'd soon go to the right-about
If I thought the curly head of her would rest there by and by.
Take all I own to-day, kith, kin, and care away,
Ship them all across the say, or to the frozen zone:
Lave me an orphan bare - but lave me Mary Cassidy,
I never would feel lonesome with the two of us alone.

Francis A. Fahy [1854-


"Now where are ye goin'," ses I, "wid the shawl
An' cotton umbrella an' basket an' all?
Would ye not wait for McMullen's machine,
Wid that iligant instep befittin' a queen?
Oh, you wid the wind-soft gray eye wid a wile in it,
You wid the lip wid the troublesome smile in it,
Sure, the road's wet, ivery rain-muddied mile in it -"
"Ah, the Saints'll be kapin' me petticoats clean!"

"But," ses I, "would ye like it to meet Clancy's bull,
Or the tinks poachin' rabbits above Slieve-na-coul?
An' the ford at Kilmaddy is big wid the snows,
An' the whisht Little People that wear the green close,
They'd run from the bog to be makin' a catch o' ye,
The king o' them's wishful o' weddin' the match o' ye,
'Twould be long, if they did, ere ye lifted the latch o' ye -"
"What fairy's to touch her that sings as she goes!"

"Ah, where are ye goin', ses I, "wid the shawl,
An' the gray eyes a-dreamin' beneath it an' all?
The road by the mountain's a long one, depend
Ye'll be done for, alannah, ere reachin' the end;
Ye'll be bate wid the wind on each back-breakin' bit on it,
Wet wid the puddles and lamed wid the grit on it, -
Since lonesome ye're layin' yer delicut fit on it -"
"Sure whin's a road lonesome that's stepped wid a friend?"

That's stepped wid a friend?
Who did Bridgy intend?
Still 'twas me that went wid her right on to the end!

Patrick R. Chalmers [18


"Ahoy! and O-ho! and it's who's for the ferry?"
(The briar's in bud and the sun going down)
"And I'll row ye so quick and I'll row ye so steady,
And 'tis but a penny to Twickenham Town."
The ferryman's slim and the ferryman's young,
With just a soft tang in the turn of his tongue;
And he's fresh as a pippin and brown as a berry,
And 'tis but a penny to Twickenham Town.

"Ahoy! and O-ho! and it's I'm for the ferry,"
(The briar's in bud and the sun going down)
"And it's late as it is and I haven't a penny -
Oh! how can I get me to Twickenham Town?"
She'd a rose in her bonnet, and oh! she looked sweet
As the little pink flower that grows in the wheat,
With her cheeks like a rose and her lips like a cherry -
It's sure but you're welcome to Twickenham Town.

"Ahoy! and O-ho!"- You're too late for the ferry,
(The briar's in bud and the sun has gone down)
And he's not rowing quick and he's not rowing steady;
It seems quite a journey to Twickenham Town.
"Ahoy! and O-ho!" you may call as you will;
The young moon is rising o'er Petersham Hill;
And, with Love like a rose in the stern of the wherry,
There's danger in crossing to Twickenham Town.

Theophile Marzials [1850-



I prithee send me back my heart,
Since I cannot have thine:
For if from yours you will not part,
Why then shouldst thou have mine?

Yet now I think on't, let it lie,
To find it were in vain,
For thou hast a thief in either eye
Would steal it back again.

Why should two hearts in one breast lie,
And yet not lodge together?
O love, where is thy sympathy,
If thus our breasts thou sever?

But love is such a mystery,
I cannot find it out:
For when I think I'm best resolved,
I then am most in doubt.

Then farewell care, and farewell woe!
I will no longer pine;
For I'll believe I have her heart,
As much as she hath mine.

John Suckling [1609-1642]


I tell thee, Dick, where I have been,
Where I the rarest things have seen;
Oh, things without compare!
Such sights again cannot be found
In any place on English ground,
Be it at wake or fair.

At Charing Cross, hard by the way
Where we (thou know'st) do sell our hay,
There is a house with stairs;
And there did I see coming down
Such folk as are not in our town,
Forty at least, in pairs.

Amongst the rest, one pest'lent fine
(His beard no bigger, though, than thine)
Walked on before the rest;
Our landlord looks like nothing to him;
The king (God bless him!) 'twould undo him
Should he go still so drest.

At Course-a-park, without all doubt,
He should have first been taken out
By all the maids i' th' town:
Though lusty Roger there had been,
Or little George upon the green,
Or Vincent of the Crown.

But wot you what? The youth was going
To make an end of all his wooing;
The parson for him staid:
Yet by his leave (for all his haste),
He did not so much wish all past,
(Perchance) as did the maid.

The maid (and thereby hangs a tale)
For such a maid no Whitsun-ale
Could ever yet produce:
No grape that's kindly ripe, could be
So round, so plump, so soft, as she,
Nor half so full of juice.

Her finger was so small, the ring
Would not stay on which they did bring;
It was too wide a peck:
And to say truth (for out it must)
It looked like the great collar (just)
About our young colt's neck.

Her feet beneath her petticoat
Like little mice stole in and out,
As if they feared the light:
But oh, she dances such a way!
No sun upon an Easter-day
Is half so fine a sight.

Her cheeks so rare a white was on,
No daisy makes comparison;
Who sees them is undone;
For streaks of red were mingled there,
Such as are on a Cath'rine pear,
The side that's next the sun.

Her lips were red; and one was thin
Compared to that was next her chin
(Some bee had stung it newly);
But, Dick, her eyes so guard her face,
I durst no more upon them gaze,
Than on the sun in July.

Her mouth so small, when she does speak,
Thou'dst swear her teeth her words did break,
That they might passage get;
But she so handled still the matter,
They came as good as ours, or better,
And are not spent a whit.

Passion o' me! how I run on!
There's that that would be thought upon,
I trow, besides the bride:
The business of the kitchen's great,
For it is fit that men should eat;
Nor was it there denied.

Just in the nick the cook knocked thrice,
And all the waiters in a trice
His summons did obey;
Each serving-man, with dish in hand,
Marched boldly up, like our trained-band,
Presented and away.

When all the meat was on the table,
What man of knife, or teeth, was able
To stay to be intreated?
And this the very reason was,
Before the parson could say grace,
The company was seated.

Now hats fly off, and youths carouse;
Healths first go round, and then the house,
The bride's come thick and thick;
And when 'twas named another's health,
Perhaps he made it hers by stealth,
(And who could help it, Dick?)

O' th' sudden up they rise and dance;
Then sit again, and sigh, and glance;
Then dance again, and kiss.
Thus sev'ral ways the time did pass,
Till ev'ry woman wished her place,
And ev'ry man wished his.

By this time all were stol'n aside
To counsel and undress the bride;
But that he must not know:
But yet 'twas thought he guessed her mind,
And did not mean to stay behind
Above an hour or so.

John Suckling [1609-1642]


Dear Chloe, how blubbered is that pretty face!
Thy cheek all on fire, and thy hair all uncurled:
Prithee quit this caprice; and (as old Falstaff says),
Let us e'en talk a little like folks of this world.

How canst thou presume thou hast leave to destroy
The beauties which Venus but lent to thy keeping?
Those looks were designed to inspire love and joy:
More ordinary eyes may serve people for weeping.

To be vexed at a trifle or two that I writ,
Your judgment at once, and my passion you wrong:
You take that for fact, which will scarce be found wit:
Od's life! must one swear to the truth of a song?

What I speak, my fair Chloe, and what I write, shows
The difference there is betwixt nature and art:
I court others in verse, but I love thee in prose:
And they have my whimsies, but thou hast my heart.

The god of us verse-men (you know, Child) the sun,
How after his journeys he sets up his rest;
If at morning o'er earth 'tis his fancy to run;
At night he reclines on his Thetis's breast.

So when I am wearied with wandering all day,
To thee, my delight, in the evening I come:
No matter what beauties I saw in my way:
They were but my visits, but thou art my home.

Then finish, dear Chloe, this pastoral war;
And let us, like Horace and Lydia, agree:
For thou art a girl as much brighter than her,
As he was a poet sublimer than me.

Matthew Prior [1664-1721]


Jack and Joan they think no ill,
But loving live, and merry still;
Do their week-days' work, and pray
Devoutly on the holy day:
Skip and trip it on the green,
And help to choose the Summer Queen;
Lash out, at a country feast,
Their silver penny with the best.

Well can they judge of nappy ale,
And tell at large a winter tale;
Climb up to the apple loft,
And turn the crabs till they be soft.
Tib is all the father's joy,
And little Tom the mother's boy.
All their pleasure is content;
And care, to pay their yearly rent.

Joan can call by name her cows,
And deck her windows with green boughs;
She can wreaths and tuttyes make,
And trim with plums a bridal cake.
Jack knows what brings gain or loss;
And his long flail can stoutly toss:
Makes the hedge which others break;
And ever thinks what he doth speak.

Now, you courtly dames and knights,
That study only strange delights;
Though you scorn the home-spun gray,
And revel in your rich array:
Though your tongues dissemble deep,
And can your heads from danger keep;
Yet, for all your pomp and train,
Securer lives the silly swain.

Thomas Campion [ ? -1619]


Phillis kept sheep along the western plains,
And Corydon did feed his flocks hard by:
This shepherd was the flower of all the swains
That traced the downs of fruitful Thessaly;
And Phillis, that did far her flocks surpass
In silver hue, was thought a bonny lass.

A bonny lass, quaint in her country 'tire,
Was lovely Phillis, - Corydon swore so;
Her locks, her looks, did set the swain on fire,
He left his lambs, and he began to woo;
He looked, he sighed, he courted with a kiss,
No better could the silly swad than this.

He little knew to paint a tale of love,
Shepherds can fancy, but they cannot say:
Phillis 'gan smile, and wily thought to prove
What uncouth grief poor Corydon did pay;
She asked him how his flocks or he did fare,
Yet pensive thus his sighs did tell his care.

The shepherd blushed when Phillis questioned so,
And swore by Pan it was not for his flocks:
"'Tis love, fair Phillis, breedeth all this woe,
My thoughts are trapped within thy lovely locks;
Thine eye hath pierced, thy face hath set on fire;
Fair Phillis kindleth Corydon's desire."

"Can shepherds love?" said Phillis to the swain.
"Such saints as Phillis," Corydon replied.
"Men when they lust can many fancies feign,"
Said Phillis. This not Corydon denied,
That lust had lies; "But love," quoth he, "says truth:
Thy shepherd loves, then, Phillis, what ensu'th?"

Phillis was won, she blushed and hung her head;
The swain stepped to, and cheered her with a kiss:
With faith, with troth, they struck the matter dead;
So used they when men thought not amiss:
Thus love begun and ended both in one;
Phillis was loved, and she liked Corydon.

Robert Greene [1560?-1592]


Of all the girls that are so smart
There's none like pretty Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.
There is no lady in the land
Is half so sweet as Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

Her father he makes cabbage-nets,
And through the streets does cry 'em;
Her mother she sells laces long
To such as please to buy 'em;
But sure such folks could ne'er beget
So sweet a girl as Sally!
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

When she is by, I leave my work,
I love her so sincerely;
My master comes like any Turk,
And bangs me most severely:
But let him bang his bellyful,
I'll bear it all for Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

Of all the days that's in the week
I dearly love but one day -
And that's the day that comes betwixt
A Saturday and Monday;
For then I'm dressed all in my best
To walk abroad with Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

My master carries me to church,
And often am I blamed
Because I leave him in the lurch
As soon as text is named;
I leave the church in sermon-time
And slink away to Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

When Christmas comes about again,
O, then I shall have money;
I'll hoard it up, and box it all,
I'll give it to my honey:
I would it were ten thousand pound,
I'd give it all to Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

My master and the neighbors all
Make game of me and Sally,
And, but for her, I'd better be
A slave and row a galley;
But when my seven long years are out,
O, then I'll marry Sally;
O, then we'll wed, and then we'll bed -
But not in our alley!

Henry Carey [? -1743]


Well met, pretty nymph, says a jolly young swain
To a lovely young shepherdess crossing the plain;
Why so much in haste? - now the month it was May -
May I venture to ask you, fair maiden, which way?
Then straight to this question the nymph did reply,
With a blush on her cheek, and a smile in her eye,
I came from the village, and homeward I go,
And now, gentle shepherd, pray why would you know?

I hope, pretty maid, you won't take it amiss,
If I tell you my reason for asking you this;
I would see you safe home - (now the swain was in love!)
Of such a companion if you would approve.
Your offer, kind shepherd, is civil, I own;
But I see no great danger in going alone;
Nor yet can I hinder, the road being free
For one as another, for you as for me.

No danger in going alone, it is true,
But yet a companion is pleasanter, too;
And if you could like - (now the swain he took heart) -
Such a sweetheart as me, why we never would part.
O that's a long word, said the shepherdess then,
I've often heard say there's no minding you men.
You'll say and unsay, and you'll flatter, 'tis true!
Then to leave a young maiden's the first thing you do.

O judge not so harshly, the shepherd replied,
To prove what I say, I will make you my bride.
To-morrow the parson - (well-said, little swain!) -
Shall join both our hands, and make one of us twain.
Then what the nymph answered to this isn't said,
The very next morn, to be sure, they were wed.
Sing hey-diddle, - ho-diddle, - hey-diddle-down, -
Now when shall we see such a wedding in town?



O merry may the maid be
That marries wi' the miller,
For, foul day and fair day,
He's aye bringing till her, -
Has aye a penny in his purse
For dinner or for supper;
And, gin she please, a good fat cheese
And lumps of yellow butter.

When Jamie first did woo me,
I speired what was his calling;
"Fair maid," says he, "O come and see,
Ye're welcome to my dwalling."
Though I was shy, yet could I spy
The truth o' what he told me,
And that his house was warm and couth,
And room in it to hold me.

Behind the door a bag o' meal,
And in the kist was plenty
O' guid hard cakes his mither bakes,
And bannocks werena scanty.
A guid fat sow, a sleeky cow
Was standing in the byre,
Whilst lazy puss with mealy mouse
Was playing at the fire.

"Guid signs are these," my mither says,
And bids me tak' the miller;
For, fair day and foul day,
He's aye bringing till her;
For meal and maut she doesna want,
Nor anything that's dainty;
And now and then a kecking hen,
To lay her eggs in plenty.

In winter, when the wind and rain
Blaws o'er the house and byre,
He sits beside a clean hearth-stane,
Before a rousing fire.
With nut-brown ale he tells his tale,
Which rows him o'er fu' nappy: -
Wha'd be a king - a petty thing,
When a miller lives so happy?

John Clerk [1684-1755]


'Twas on a simmer's afternoon,
A wee afore the sun gaed doun,
A lassie wi' a braw new goun
Cam' owre the hills to Gowrie.
The rosebud washed in simmer's shower
Bloomed fresh within the sunny bower;
But Kitty was the fairest flower
That e'er was seen in Gowrie.

To see her cousin she cam' there;
And oh! the scene was passing fair,
For what in Scotland can compare
Wi' the Carse o' Gowrie?
The sun was setting on the Tay,
The blue hills melting into gray,
The mavis and the blackbird's lay
Were sweetly heard in Gowrie.

O lang the lassie I had wooed,
And truth and constancy had vowed,
But could nae speed wi' her I lo'ed
Until she saw fair Gowrie.
I pointed to my faither's ha' -
Yon bonnie bield ayont the shaw,
Sae loun that there nae blast could blaw: -
Wad she no bide in Gowrie?

Her faither was baith glad and wae;
Her mither she wad naething say;
The bairnies thocht they wad get play
If Kitty gaed to Gowrie.
She whiles did smile, she whiles did greet;
The blush and tear were on her cheek;
She naething said, and hung her head; -
But now she's Leddy Gowrie.

Carolina Nairne [1766-1845]


Soon as the day begins to waste,
Straight to the well-known door I haste,
And rapping there, I'm forced to stay
While Molly hides her work with care,
Adjusts her tucker and her hair,
And nimble Becky scours away.

Entering, I see in Molly's eyes
A sudden smiling joy arise,
As quickly checked by virgin shame:
She drops a curtsey, steals a glance,
Receives a kiss, one step advance. -
If such I love, am I to blame?

I sit, and talk of twenty things,
Of South Sea stock, or death of kings,
While only "Yes" or "No," says Molly;
As cautious she conceals her thoughts,
As others do their private faults: -
Is this her prudence, or her folly?

Parting, I kiss her lip and cheek,
I hang about her snowy neck,
And cry, "Farewell, my dearest Molly!"
Yet still I hang and still I kiss,
Ye learned sages, say, is this
In me the effect of love, or folly?

No - both by sober reason move, -
She prudence shows, and I true love -
No charge of folly can be laid.
Then (till the marriage-rites proclaimed
Shall join our hands) let us be named
The constant swain, the virtuous maid.



Come, all ye jolly shepherds
That whistle through the glen,
I'll tell ye of a secret
That courtiers dinna ken:
What is the greatest bliss
That the tongue o' man can name?
'Tis to woo a bonnie lassie
When the kye comes hame.
When the kye comes hame,
When the kye comes hame,
'Tween the gloamin and the mirk,
When the kye comes hame.

'Tis not beneath the coronet,
Nor canopy of state,
'Tis not on couch of velvet,
Nor arbor of the great -
'Tis beneath the spreading birk,
In the glen without the name,
Wi' a bonnie, bonnie lassie,
When the kye comes hame.

There the blackbird bigs his nest
For the mate he lo'es to see,
And on the topmost bough,
O, a happy bird is he!
Then he pours his melting ditty,
And love is a' the theme,
And he'll woo his bonnie lassie
When the kye comes hame.

When the blewart bears a pearl,
And the daisy turns a pea,
And the bonnie lucken gowan
Has fauldit up her e'e,
Then the laverock frae the blue lift
Draps down, and thinks nae shame
To woo his bonnie lassie
When the kye comes hame.

See yonder pawkie shepherd
That lingers on the hill -
His ewes are in the fauld,
And his lambs are lying still;
Yet he downa gang to bed,
For his heart is in a flame
To meet his bonnie lassie
When the kye comes hame.

When the little wee bit heart
Rises high in the breast,
And the little wee bit starn
Rises red in the east,
O there's a joy sae dear,
That the heart can hardly frame,
Wi' a bonnie, bonnie lassie,
When the kye comes hame.

Then since all nature joins
In this love without alloy,
O, wha wad prove a traitor
To Nature's dearest joy?
Or wha wad choose a crown,
Wi' its perils and its fame,
And miss his bonnie lassie
When the kye comes hame?
When the kye comes hame,
When the kye comes hame
'Tween the gloamin' and the mirk,
When the kye comes hame!

James Hogg [1770-1835]


When first I saw sweet Peggy,
'Twas on a market day,
A low-backed car she drove, and sat
Upon a truss of hay;
But when that hay was blooming grass
And decked with flowers of Spring,
No flower was there that could compare
With the blooming girl I sing.
As she sat in the low-backed car,
The man at the turnpike bar
Never asked for the toll,
But just rubbed his ould poll,
And looked after the low-backed car.

In battle's wild commotion,
The proud and mighty Mars,
With hostile scythes, demands his tithes
Of death - in warlike cars:
While Peggy, peaceful goddess,
Has darts in her bright eye,
That knock men down in the market town,
As right and left they fly; -
While she sits in her low-backed car,
Than battle more dangerous far, -
For the doctor's art
Cannot cure the heart
That is hit from that low-backed car.

Sweet Peggy round her car, sir,
Has strings of ducks and geese,
But the scores of hearts she slaughters
By far outnumber these;
While she among her poultry sits,
Just like a turtle-dove,
Well worth the cage, I do engage,
Of the blooming god of Love!
While she sits in her low-backed car,
The lovers come near and far,
And envy the chicken
That Peggy is pickin',
As she sits in her low-backed car.

O, I'd rather own that car, sir,
With Peggy by my side,
Than a coach-and-four, and goold galore,
And a lady for my bride;
For the lady would sit forninst me,
On a cushion made with taste,
While Peggy would sit beside me,
With my arm around her waist, -
While we drove in the low-backed car,
To be married by Father Mahar,
O, my heart would beat high
At her glance and her sigh, -
Though it beat in a low-backed car!

Samuel Lover [1797-1868]


The shades of eve had crossed the glen
That frowns o'er infant Avonmore,
When, nigh Loch Dan, two weary men,
We stopped before a cottage door.

"God save all here!" my comrade cries,
And rattles on the raised latch-pin;
"God save you kindly!" quick replies
A clear sweet voice, and asks us in.

We enter; from the wheel she starts,
A rosy girl with soil black eyes,
Her fluttering curtsey takes our hearts,
Her blushing grace and pleased surprise.

Poor Mary, she was quite alone,
For, all the way to Glenmalure,
Her mother had that morning gone,
And left the house in charge with her.

But neither household cares, nor yet
The shame that startled virgins feel,
Could make the generous girl forget
Her wonted hospitable zeal.

She brought us, in a beechen bowl,
Sweet milk that smacked of mountain thyme,
Oat cake, and such a yellow roll
Of butter, - it gilds all my rhyme!

And, while we ate the grateful food
(With weary limbs on bench reclined),
Considerate and discreet, she stood
Apart, and listened to the wind.

Kind wishes both our souls engaged,
From breast to breast spontaneous ran
The mutual thought, - we stood and pledged
The modest rose above Loch Dan.

"The milk we drink is not more pure,
Sweet Mary, - bless those budding charms! -
Than your own generous heart, I'm sure,
Nor whiter than the breast it warms!"

She turned and gazed, unused to hear
Such language in that homely glen;
But, Mary, you have naught to fear,
Though smiled on by two stranger-men.

Not for a crown would I alarm
Your virgin pride by word or sign,
Nor need a painful blush disarm
My friend of thoughts as pure as mine.

Her simple heart could not but feel
The words we spoke were free from guile;
She stooped, she blushed, she fixed her wheel, -
'Tis all in vain, - she can't but smile!

Just like sweet April's dawn appears
Her modest face, - I see it yet, -
And though I lived a hundred years
Methinks I never could forget

The pleasure that, despite her heart,
Fills all her downcast eyes with light;
The lips reluctantly apart,
The white teeth struggling into sight,

The dimples eddying o'er her cheek, -
The rosy cheek that won't be still: -
O, who could blame what flatterers speak,
Did smiles like this reward their skill?

For such another smile, I vow,
Though loudly beats the midnight rain,
I'd take the mountain-side e'en now,
And walk to Luggelaw again!

Samuel Ferguson [1810-1886]


Frowned the Laird on the Lord: "So, red-handed I catch thee?
Death-doomed by our Law of the Border!
We've a gallows outside and a chiel to dispatch thee:
Who trespasses - hangs: all's in order."

He met frown with smile, did the young English gallant:
Then the Laird's dame: "Nay, Husband, I beg!
He's comely: be merciful! Grace for the callant
- If he marries our Muckle-mouth Meg!"

"No mile-wide-mouthed monster of yours do I marry:
Grant rather the gallows!" laughed he.
"Foul fare kith and kin of you - why do you tarry?"
"To tame your fierce temper!" quoth she.

"Shove him quick in the Hole, shut him fast for a week:
Cold, darkness, and hunger work wonders:
Who lion-like roars, now mouse-fashion will squeak,
And 'it rains' soon succeed to 'it thunders.'"

A week did he bide in the cold and dark
- Not hunger: for duly at morning
In flitted a lass, and a voice like a lark
Chirped, "Muckle-mouth Meg still ye're scorning?

"Go hang, but here's parritch to hearten ye first!"
"Did Meg's muckle-mouth boast within some
Such music as yours, mine should match it or burst:
No frog-jaws! So tell folk, my Winsome!"

Soon week came to end, and, from Hole's door set wide,
Out he marched, and there waited the lassie:
"Yon gallows, or Muckle-mouth Meg for a bride!
Consider! Sky's blue and turf's grassy:

"Life's sweet; shall I say ye wed Muckle-mouth Meg?"
"Not I," quoth the stout heart: "too eerie
The mouth that can swallow a bubblyjock's egg:
Shall I let it munch mine? Never, Dearie!"

"Not Muckle-mouth Meg? Wow, the obstinate man!
Perhaps he would rather wed me!"
"Ay, would he - with just for a dowry your can!"
"I'm Muckle-mouth Meg," chirruped she.

"Then so - so - so - so -" as he kissed her apace -
"Will I widen thee out till thou turnest
From Margaret Minnikin-mou', by God's grace,
To Muckle-mouth Meg in good earnest!"

Robert Browning [1812-1889]


"Oh, what hae ye brought us hame now, my brave lord,
Strappit flaught owre his braid saddle-bow?
Some bauld Border reiver to feast at our board,
An' harry our pantry, I trow.
He's buirdly an' stalwart in lith an' in limb;
Gin ye were his master in war
The field was a saft eneugh litter for him,
Ye needna hae brought him sae far.
Then saddle an' munt again, harness an' dunt again,
An' when ye gae hunt again, strike higher game."

"Hoot, whisht ye, my dame, for he comes o' gude kin,
An' boasts o' a lang pedigree;
This night he maun share o' our gude cheer within,
At morning's gray dawn he maun dee.
He's gallant Wat Scott, heir o' proud Harden Ha',
Wha ettled our lands clear to sweep;
But now he is snug in auld Elibank's paw,
An' shall swing frae our donjon-keep.
Though saddle an' munt again, harness an' dunt again,
I'll ne'er when I hunt again strike higher game."

"Is this young Wat Scott? an' wad ye rax his craig,
When our daughter is fey for a man?
Gae, gaur the loun marry our muckle-mou'd Meg
Or we'll ne'er get the jaud aff our han'!"
"Od! hear our gudewife, she wad fain save your life;
Wat Scott, will ye marry or hang?"
But Meg's muckle mou set young Wat's heart agrue.
Wat swore to the woodie he'd gang.
Ne'er saddle nor munt again, harness nor dunt again,
Wat ne'er shall hunt again, ne'er see his hame.

Syne muckle-mou'd Meg pressed in close to his side,
An' blinkit fu' sleely and kind,
But aye as Wat glowered at his braw proffered bride,
He shook like a leaf in the wind.
"A bride or a gallows, a rope or a wife!"
The morning dawned sunny and clear -
Wat boldly strode forward to part wi' his life,
Till he saw Meggy shedding a tear;
Then saddle an' munt again, harness an' dunt again,
Fain wad Wat hunt again, fain wad be hame.

Meg's tear touched his bosom, the gibbet frowned high,
An' slowly Wat strode to his doom;
He gae a glance round wi' a tear in his eye,
Meg shone like a star through the gloom.
She rushed to his arms, they were wed on the spot,
An' lo'ed ither muckle and lang;
Nae bauld border laird had a wife like Wat Scott;
'Twas better to marry than hang.
So saddle an' munt again, harness an' dunt again,
Elibank hunt again, Wat's snug at hame.

James Ballantine [1808-1877]


Threescore o' nobles rade to the king's ha',
But bonnie Glenlogie's the flower o' them a',
Wi' his milk-white steed and his bonnie black e'e,
"Glenlogie, dear mither, Glenlogie for me!"

"O haud your tongue, dochter, ye'll get better than he";
"O say na sae, mither, for that canna be;
Though Doumlie is richer, and greater than he.
Yet if I maun tak' him, I'll certainly dee.

"Where will I get a bonnie boy, to win hose and shoon,
Will gae to Glenlogie, and come again soon?"
"O here am I, a bonnie boy, to win hose and shoon,
Will gae to Glenlogie and come again soon."

When he gaed to Glenlogie, 'twas "Wash and go dine";
'Twas "Wash ye, my pretty boy, wash and go dine."
"O 'twas ne'er my father's fashion, and it ne'er shall be mine
To gar a lady's errand wait till I dine.

"But there is, Glenlogie, a letter for thee."
The first line that he read, a low smile ga'e he;
The next line that he read, the tear blindit his e'e:
But the last line he read, he gart the table flee.

"Gar saddle the black horse, gar saddle the brown;
Gar saddle the swiftest steed e'er rade frae a town";
But lang ere the horse was brought round to the green,
O bonnie Glenlogie was two mile his lane.

When he cam' to Glenfeldy's door, sma' mirth was there;
Bonnie Jean's mither was tearing her hair;
"Ye're welcome, Glenlogie, ye're welcome," said she,
"Ye're welcome, Glenlogie, your Jeanie to see."

Pale and wan was she, when Glenlogie gaed ben,
But red rosy grew she whene'er he sat down;
She turned awa' her head, but the smile was in her e'e,
"O binna feared, mither, I'll maybe no dee."


From "Marmion"

O, young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And, save his good broadsword, he weapon had none,
He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.

He stayed not for brake, and he stopped not for stone,
He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;
But, ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late;
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

So boldly he entered the Netherby Hall,
Among bridesmen, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all.
Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword,
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word),
"O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?"

"I long wooed your daughter, my suit you denied; -
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide, -
And now am I come, with this lost love of mine,
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar."

The bride kissed the goblet; the knight took it up,
He quaffed off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
She looked down to blush, and she looked up to sigh,
With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand, era her mother could bar, -
"Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar.

So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume.
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
And the bride-maidens whispered, "'Twere better by far,
To have matched our fair cousin with young Lochinvar."

One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
When they reached the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
"She is won! we are gone! over bank, bush, and scaur;
They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar.

There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?

Walter Scott [1771-1832]


"Why weep ye by the tide, ladie?
Why weep ye by the tide?
I'll wed ye to my youngest son,
And ye sall be his bride:
And ye sall be his bride, ladie,
Sae comely to be seen" -
But aye she loot the tears down fa'
For Jock of Hazeldean.

"Now let this wilfu' grief be done,
And dry that cheek so pale;
Young Frank is chief of Errington
And lord of Langley-dale;
His step is first in peaceful ha',
His sword in battle keen" -
But aye she loot the tears down fa'
For Jock of Hazeldean.

"A chain of gold ye sall not lack,
Nor braid to bind your hair,
Nor mettled hound, nor managed hawk,
Nor palfrey fresh and fair;
And you the foremost o' them a'
Shall ride our forest-queen" -
But aye she loot the tears down fa'
For Jock of Hazeldean.

The kirk was decked at morning-tide,
The tapers glimmered fair;
The priest and bridegroom wait the bride,
And dame and knight are there:
They sought her baith by bower and ha';
The ladie was not seen!
She's o'er the Border, and awa'
Wi' Jock of Hazeldean.

Walter Scott [1771-1832]

October - A Wood

I know what you're going to say," she said,
And she stood up, looking uncommonly tall:
"You are going to speak of the hectic fall,
And say you're sorry the summer's dead,
And no other summer was like it, you know,
And can I imagine what made it so.
Now aren't you, honestly?" "Yes," I said.

"I know what you're going to say," she said:
"You are going to ask if I forget
That day in June when the woods were wet,
And you carried me" - here she drooped her head -
"Over the creek; you are going to say,
Do I remember that horrid day.
Now aren't you, honestly?" "Yes," I said.

"I know what you're going to say," she said:
"You are going to say that since that time
You have rather tended to run to rhyme,
And" - her clear glance fell, and her cheek grew red -
"And have I noticed your tone was queer.
Why, everybody has seen it here!
Now aren't you, honestly?" "Yes," I said.

"I know what you're going to say," I said:
"You're going to say you've been much annoyed;
And I'm short of tact - you will say, devoid -
And I'm clumsy and awkward; and call me Ted;
And I bear abuse like a dear old lamb;
And you'll have me, anyway, just as I am.
Now aren't you, honestly?" "Ye-es," she said.

Henry Cuyler Bunner [1855-1896]


Do you remember when you heard
My lips breathe love's first faltering word?
You do, sweet - don't you?
When, having wandered all the day,
Linked arm in arm, I dared to say,
"You'll love me - won't you?"

And when you blushed and could not speak,
I fondly kissed your glowing cheek,
Did that affront you?
Oh, surely not - your eye expressed
No wrath - but said, perhaps in jest,
"You'll love me - won't you?"

I'm sure my eyes replied, "I will."
And you believe that promise still,
You do, sweet - don't you?
Yes, yes! when age has made our eyes
Unfit for questions or replies,
You'll love me - won't you?

Thomas Haynes Bayly [1797-1839]


Sweet Nea! - for your lovely sake
I weave these rambling numbers,
Because I've lain an hour awake,
And can't compose my slumbers;
Because your beauty's gentle light
Is round my pillow beaming,
And flings, I know not why, to-night,
Some witchery o'er my dreaming!

Because we've passed some joyous days,
And danced some merry dances;
Because we love old Beaumont's plays,
And old Froissart's romances!
Because whene'er I hear your words
Some pleasant feeling lingers;
Because I think your heart has cords
That vibrate to your fingers.

Because you've got those long, soft curls,
I've sworn should deck my goddess;
Because you're not, like other girls,
All bustle blush, and bodice!
Because your eyes are deep and blue,
Your fingers long and rosy;
Because a little child and you
Would make one's home so cosy!

Because your little tiny nose
Turns up so pert and funny;
Because I know you choose your beaux
More for their mirth than money;
Because I think you'd rather twirl
A waltz, with me to guide you,
Than talk small nonsense with an earl,
And a coronet beside you!

Because you don't object to walk,
And are not given to fainting;
Because you have not learned to talk
Of flowers, and Poonah-painting;
Because I think you'd scarce refuse
To sew one on a button;
Because I know you sometimes choose
To dine on simple mutton!

Because I think I'm just so weak
As, some of those fine morrows,
To ask you if you'll let me speak
My story - and my sorrows;
Because the rest's a simple thing,
A matter quickly over
A church - a priest - a sigh - a ring -
And a chaise-and-four to Dover.

Edward Fitzgerald [1809-1883]

From "Gryll Grange"

I played with you 'mid cowslips blowing,
When I was six and you were four;
When garlands weaving, flower-balls throwing,
Were pleasures soon to please no more.
Through groves and meads, o'er grass and heather,
With little playmates, to and fro,
We wandered hand in hand together;
But that was sixty years ago.

You grew a lovely roseate maiden,
And still our early love was strong;
Still with no care our days were laden,
They glided joyously along;
And I did love you very dearly -
How dearly, words want power to show;
I thought your heart was touched as nearly;
But that was fifty years ago.

Then other lovers came around you,
Your beauty grew from year to year,
And many a splendid circle found you
The center of its glittering sphere.
I saw you then, first vows forsaking,
On rank and wealth, your hand bestow;
O, then, I thought my heart was breaking, -
But that was forty years ago.

And I lived on, to wed another:
No cause she gave me to repine;
And when I heard you were a mother,
I did not wish the children mine.
My own young flock, in fair progression,
Made up a pleasant Christmas row:
My joy in them was past expression; -
But that was thirty years ago.

You grew a matron plump and comely,
You dwelt in fashion's brightest blaze;
My earthly lot was far more homely;
But I too had my festal days.
No merrier eyes have ever glistened
Around the hearth-stone's wintry glow,
Than when my youngest child was christened: -
But that was twenty years ago.

Time passed. My eldest girl was married,
And I am now a grandsire gray;
One pet of four years old I've carried
Among the wild-flowered meads to play.
In our old fields of childish pleasure,
Where now, as then, the cowslips blow,
She fills her basket's ample measure, -
And that is not ten years ago.

But though first love's impassioned blindness
Has passed away in colder light,
I still have thought of you with kindness,
And shall do, till our last good-night.
The ever-rolling silent hours
Will bring a time we shall not know,
When our young days of gathering flowers
Will be an hundred years ago.

Thomas Love Peacock [1785-1866]


If wandering in a wizard's car
Through yon blue ether, I were able
To fashion of a little star
A taper for my Helen's table; -
"What then?" she asks me with a laugh -
Why, then, with all heaven's luster glowing,
It would not gild her path with half
The light her love o'er mine is throwing!

Winthrop Mackworth Praed [1802-1839]

From "Pendennis"

Although I enter not,
Yet round about the spot
Ofttimes I hover;
And near the sacred gate,
With longing eyes I wait,
Expectant of her.

The Minster bell tolls out
Above the city's rout,
And noise and humming;
They've hushed the Minster bell:
The organ 'gins to swell;
She's coming, she's coming!

My lady comes at last,
Timid, and stepping fast
And hastening hither,
With modest eyes downcast;
She comes - she's here - she's past!
May heaven go with her!

Kneel undisturbed, fair Saint!
Pour out your praise or plaint
Meekly and duly;
I will not enter there,
To sully your pure prayer
With thoughts unruly.

But suffer me to pace
Round the forbidden place,
Lingering a minute,
Like outcast spirits, who wait,
And see, through heaven's gate,
Angels within it.

William Makepeace Thackeray [1811-1863]


Fairest of the fairest, rival of the rose,
That is Mabel of the Hills, as everybody knows.

Do you ask me near what stream this sweet floweret grows?
That's an ignorant question, sir, as everybody knows.

Ask you what her age is, reckoned as time goes?
Just the age of beauty, as everybody knows.

Is she tall as Rosalind, standing on her toes?
She is just the perfect height, as everybody knows.

What's the color of her eyes, when they ope or close?
Just the color they should be, as everybody knows.

Is she lovelier dancing, or resting in repose?
Both are radiant pictures, as everybody knows.

Do her ships go sailing on every wind that blows?
She is richer far than that, as everybody knows.

Has she scores of lovers, heaps of bleeding beaux?
That question's quite superfluous, as everybody knows.

I could tell you something, if I only chose! -
But what's the use of telling what everybody knows?

James Thomas Fields [1816-1881]


Prithee tell me, Dimple-Chin,
At what age does Love begin?
Your blue eyes have scarcely seen
Summers three, my fairy queen,
But a miracle of sweets,
Soft approaches, sly retreats,
Show the little archer there,
Hidden in your pretty hair;
When didst learn a heart to win?
Prithee tell me, Dimple-Chin!

"Oh!" the rosy lips reply,
"I can't tell you if I try.
'Tis so long I can't remember:
Ask some younger lass than I!"

Tell, O tell me, Grizzled-Face,
Do your heart and head keep pace?
When does hoary Love expire,
When do frosts put out the fire?
Can its embers burn below
All that chill December snow?
Care you still soft hands to press,
Bonny heads to smooth and bless?
When does Love give up the chase?
Tell, O tell me, Grizzled-Face!

"Ah!" the wise old lips reply,
"Youth may pass and strength may die;
But of Love I can't foretoken:
Ask some older sage than I!"

Edmund Clarence Stedman [1833-1908]


The conference-meeting through at last,
We boys around the vestry waited
To see the girls come tripping past,
Like snow-birds willing to be mated.

Not braver he that leaps the wall
By level musket-flashes bitten,
Than I, that stepped before them all
Who longed to see me get the mitten.

But no! she blushed and took my arm:
We let the old folks have the highway,
And started toward the Maple Farm
Along a kind of lovers' by-way.

I can't remember what we said, -
'Twas nothing worth a song or story;
Yet that rude path by which we sped
Seemed all transformed and in a glory.

The snow was crisp beneath our feet,
The moon was full, the fields were gleaming;
By hood and tippet sheltered sweet,
Her face with youth and health was beaming.

The little hand outside her muff
(O sculptor! if you could but mold it)
So lightly touched my jacket-cuff,
To keep it warm I had to hold it.

To have her with me there alone, -
'Twas love and fear and triumph blended;
At last we reached the foot-worn stone
Where that delicious journey ended.

The old folks, too, were almost home:
Her dimpled hand the latches fingered,
We heard the voices nearer come,
Yet on the doorstep still we lingered.

She shook her ringlets from her hood,
And with a "Thank you, Ned!" dissembled;
But yet I knew she understood
With what a daring wish I trembled.

A cloud passed kindly overhead,
The moon was slyly peeping through it,
Yet hid its face, as if it said -
"Come, now or never! do it! do it!"

My lips till then had only known
The kiss of mother and of sister, -
But somehow, full upon her own
Sweet, rosy, darling mouth, - I kissed her!

Perhaps 'twas boyish love: yet still,
O listless woman! weary lover!
To feel once more that fresh, wild thrill
I'd give - but who can live youth over?

Edmund Clarence Stedman [1833-1908]


I sent my love two roses, - one
As white as driven snow,
And one a blushing royal red,
A flaming Jacqueminot.

I meant to touch and test my fate;
That night I should divine,
The moment I should see my love,
If her true heart were mine.

For if she holds me dear, I said,
She'll wear my blushing rose;
If not, she'll wear my cold Lamarque,
As white as winter's snows.

My heart sank when I met her: sure
I had been overbold,
For on her breast my pale rose lay
In virgin whiteness cold.

Yet with low words she greeted me,
With smiles divinely tender;
Upon her cheek the red rose dawned, -
The white rose meant surrender.

John Hay [1838-1905]


When Spring comes laughing
By vale and hill,
By wind-flower walking
And daffodil, -
Sing stars of morning,
Sing morning skies,
Sing blue of speedwell, -
And my Love's eyes.

When comes the Summer,
Full-leaved and strong,
And gay birds gossip
The orchard long, -
Sing hid, sweet honey
That no bee sips;
Sing red, red roses, -
And my Love's lips.

When Autumn scatters
The leaves again,
And piled sheaves bury
The broad-wheeled wain, -
Sing flutes of harvest
Where men rejoice;
Sing rounds of reapers, -
And my Love's voice.

But when comes Winter
With hail and storm,
And red fire roaring
And ingle warm, -
Sing first sad going
Of friends that part;
Then sing glad meeting, -
And my Love's heart.

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]


Tying her bonnet under her chin,
She tied her raven ringlets in;
But not alone in the silken snare
Did she catch her lovely floating hair,
For, tying her bonnet under her chin,
She tied a young man's heart within.

They were strolling together up the hill,
Where the wind came blowing merry and chill;
And it blew the curls, a frolicsome race,
All over the happy peach-colored face.
Till, scolding and laughing, she tied them in,
Under her beautiful, dimpled chin.

And it blew a color, bright as the bloom
Of the pinkest fuchsia's tossing plume,
All over the cheeks of the prettiest girl
That ever imprisoned a romping curl,
Or, in tying her bonnet under her chin,
Tied a young man's heart within.

Steeper and steeper grew the hill,
Madder, merrier, chillier still
The western wind blew down, and played
The wildest tricks with the little maid,
As, tying her bonnet under her chin,
She tied a young man's heart within.

O western wind, do you think it was fair
To play such tricks with her floating hair?
To gladly, gleefully, do your best
To blow her against the young man's breast,
Where he as gladly folded her in,
And kissed her mouth and her dimpled chin?

Ah! Ellery Vane, you little thought,
An hour ago, when you besought
This country lass to walk with you,
After the sun had dried the dew,
What terrible danger you'd be in,
As she tied her bonnet under her chin!

Nora Perry [1832-1896]



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