How your noble kinsmen laughed and wept
O’er their treasure snatched from the flood,
And your white-faced brother brought me gold—
You loved him, or I could
Have obeyed the fiend that told me
To curse him where he stood.
Gold! Oh, darling, they had no need
Such insults to repeat;
I knew the Heaven was above the earth,
I knew, I knew, my sweet,
I was not worthy to touch the shoes
That covered your dainty feet.
I knew as you laid your hand in mine,
So kind as I turned away,
That we were severed as wide apart,
That hour, as we are to-day,
And you in your stately English home,
So far, so far away.
That soft white hand you laid in mine
With a smile as I turned to go,
Oh, Lady Maud, I marvel
If you ever stoop so low,
As to wonder what those tears meant,
That glittered on its snow.
But I know if you had dreamed the truth
Your beautiful dark brown eyes
Would only have grown more gentle,
With a sorrowful surprise;
For a nobler and a kinder heart
Ne’er beat beneath the skies.
You never meant to give me pain,
But oh, ’twas a cruel good,
I so low in the world’s esteem,
You of such noble blood,
That you stooped to as gentle words and deeds,
As ever an angel could.
I blessed you for your brightness
When you came unto our shore,
For the dull earth caught a beauty
It never had before;
But you left a lonesome shadow,
That will lie there evermore.
How proud the good ship bore you
Adown the golden bay,
The sun’s last light upon its sails—
I stood there mournfully;
For I know it left the darkness—
Took the sunlight all away.
It stands alone on a haunted shore,
With curious words of deathless lore
On its massive gate impearled;
And its carefully guarded mystic key
Locks in its silent mystery
From the seeking eyes of the world.
Oft do its stately walls repeat
Echoes of music wildly sweet
Swelling to gladness high—
With mournful ballads of ancient time,
And funeral hymns—and a nursery rhyme
Dying away in a sigh.
Pictures out of each haunted room,
Up through the ghostly shadows loom,
And gleam with a spectral light;
Pictures lit with a radiant glow,
And some that image such desolate woe
That, weeping, you turn from the sight.
Shining like stars in the twilight gloom
Brows as white as a lily’s bloom
Gleam from its lattice and door;
And voices soft as a seraph’s note,
Through its mysterious chambers float
Back from eternity’s shore.
In the mournful silence of midnight air
You hear on its stately and winding stair
The echoes of fairy feet.
Gentle footsteps that lightly fall
Through the enchanted castle hall,
And up in the golden street.