When there are rays within, like those
That streamed through maple and through birch,
And rested in such calm repose
On the broad tower of Tamworth Church.
She was but a child, a child,
And I a man grown;
Sweet she was, and fresh, and wild,
And, I thought, my own.
What could I do? The long grass groweth,
The long wave floweth with a murmur on:
The why and the wherefore of it all who knoweth?
Ere I thought to lose her she was grown—and gone.
This day or that day in warm spring weather.
The lamb that was tame will yearn to break its tether.
“But if the world wound thee,” I said, “come back to me,
Down in the dell wishing—wishing, wishing for thee.”
The dews hang on the white
Like a ghost it stands,
All in the dusk before day
That folds the dim lands:
Dark fell the skies when once belated,
Sad, and sorrow-fated, I missed the sun;
But wake, heart, and sing, for not in vain I waited.
O clear, O solemn dawning, lo, the maid is won!
Sweet dews, dry early on the grass and clover,
Lest the bride wet her feet while she walks over;
Shine to-day, sunbeams, and make all fair to see:
Down the dell she’s coming—coming, coming with me.
“Whither away, thou little eyeless rover?
(Kind Roger’s true)
Whither away across yon bents and clover,
Wet, wet with dew?”
“Roger here, Roger there—
Roger—O, he sighed,
Yet let me glean among the wheat,
Nor sit kind Roger’s bride.”
“What wilt thou do when all the gleaning’s
What wilt thou do?
The cold will come, and fog and frost-work blended
(Kind Roger’s true).”
“Sleet and rain, cloud and storm,
When they cease to frown
I’ll bind me primrose bunches sweet,
And cry them up the town.”
“What if at last thy careless heart awaking
This day thou rue?”
“I’ll cry my flowers, and think for all its breaking,
Kind Roger’s true;
Roger here, Roger there,
O, my true love sighed,
Sigh once, once more, I’ll stay my feet
And rest kind Roger’s bride.”
While Time a grim old lion gnawing lay,
And mumbled with his teeth yon regal tomb,
Like some immortal tear undimmed for aye,
This gem was dropped among the dust of doom.
Dropped, haply, by a sad, forgotten queen,
A tear to outlast name, and fame, and tongue:
Her other tears, and ours, all tears terrene,
For great new griefs to be hereafter sung.
Take it,—a goddess might have wept such
Or Dame Electra changed into a star,
That waxed so dim because her children’s years
In leaguered Troy were bitter through long war.