“I dare not look. He wronged me never.
Men say we differ’d; they speak amiss:
This man and I were neighbors ever—
I would have ventured my life for his.
“But fast my feet were—fast with
Ay! words—but they were not sharp, I trow,
Though parish feuds and vestry wrangles—
O pitiful sight—I see thee now!—
“If we fell out, ’twas but foul weather,
After long shining! O bitter cup,—
What—dead?—why, man, we play’d together—
Art dead—ere a friend can make it up?”
Over his head the chafer hummeth,
Under his feet shut daisies bend:
Waken, man! the enemy cometh,
Thy neighbor, counted so long a friend.
He cannot waken—and firm, and steady,
The enemy comes with lowering brow;
He looks for war, his heart is ready,
His thoughts are bitter—he will not bow.
He fronts the seat,—the dream is flinging
A spell that his footsteps may not break,—
But one in the garden of hops is singing—
The dreamer hears it, and starts awake.
Walking apart, she thinks none listen;
And now she carols, and now she stops;
And the evening star begins to glisten
Atween the lines of blossoming hops.
Sweetest Mercy, your mother taught you
All uses and cares that to maids belong;
Apt scholar to read and to sew she thought you—
She did not teach you that tender song—
“The lady sang in her charmed bower,
Sheltered and safe under roses blown—
’Storm cannot touch me, hail, nor shower,
Where all alone I sit, all alone.
“My bower! The fair Fay twined it round
Care nor trouble can pierce it through;
But once a sigh from the warm world found me
Between two leaves that were bent with dew.
“And day to night, and night to morrow,
Though soft as slumber the long hours wore,
I looked for my dower of love, of sorrow—
Is there no more—no more—no more?_’
“Give her the sun-sweet light, and duly
To walk in shadow, nor chide her part;
Give her the rose, and truly, truly—
To wear its thorn with a patient heart—
“Misty as dreams the moonbeam lyeth
Chequered and faint on her charmed floor;
The lady singeth, the lady sigheth—
‘Is there no more—no more—no more!_’”
A crash of boughs!—one through them breaking!
Mercy is startled, and fain would fly,
But e’en as she turns, her steps o’ertaking,
He pleads with her—“Mercy, it is but I!”
“Mercy!” he touches her hand unbidden—
“The air is balmy, I pray you stay—
Mercy?” Her downcast eyes are hidden,
And never a word she has to say.