I’m glad that echo was not heard
Aright by other men: a bird
Knows doubtless what his own notes tell;
And I know not, but I can say
I felt as shame-faced all that day
As if folks heard her name right well.
And when the west began to glow
I went—I could not choose but go—
To that same dairy on the hill;
And while sweet Mary moved about
Within, I came to her without.
And leaned upon the window-sill.
The garden border where I stood
Was sweet with pinks and southernwood.
I spoke—her answer seemed to fail:
I smelt the pinks—I could not see;
The dusk came down and sheltered me,
And in the dusk she heard my tale.
And what is left that I should tell?
I begged a kiss, I pleaded well:
The rosebud lips did long decline;
But yet I think, I think ’tis true,
That, leaned at last into the dew,
One little instant they were mine.
O life! how dear thou hast become:
She laughed at dawn and I was dumb,
But evening counsels best prevail.
Fair shine the blue that o’er her spreads,
Green be the pastures where she treads,
The maiden with the milking-pail!
We sat on grassy slopes that meet
With sudden dip the level strand;
The trees hung overhead—our feet
Were on the sand.
Two silent girls, a thoughtful man,
We sunned ourselves in open light,
And felt such April airs as fan
The Isle of Wight;
And smelt the wall-flower in the crag
Whereon that dainty waft had fed,
Which made the bell-hung cowslip wag
Her delicate head;
And let alighting jackdaws fleet
Adown it open-winged, and pass
Till they could touch with outstretched feet
The warmed grass.
The happy wave ran up and rang
Like service bells a long way off,
And down a little freshet sprang
From mossy trough,
And splashed into a rain of spray,
And fretted on with daylight’s loss,
Because so many bluebells lay
Blue martins gossiped in the sun,
And pairs of chattering daws flew by,
And sailing brigs rocked softly on
Wild cherry-boughs above us spread,
The whitest shade was ever seen,
And flicker, flicker, came and fled
Sun spots between.
Bees murmured in the milk-white bloom,
As babes will sigh for deep content
When their sweet hearts for peace make room,
As given, not lent.
And we saw on: we said no word,
And one was lost in musings rare,
One buoyant as the waft that stirred
Her shining hair.
His eyes were bent upon the sand,
Unfathomed deeps within them lay.
A slender rod was in his hand—
A hazel spray.