Cold, my dear,—cold and quiet.
In their cups on yonder lea,
Cowslips fold the brown bee’s diet;
So the moss enfoldeth thee.
“Plant me, plant me, O love, a lily flower—
Plant at my head, I pray you, a green tree;
And when our children sleep,” she sighed, “at the dusk hour,
And when the lily blossoms, O come out to me!”
Lost, my dear? Lost!
Love is that which loseth least;
Through the night-time while thou sleepest,
Still I watch the shrouded east.
Near thee, near thee, my wife that aye liveth,
“Lost” is no word for such a love as mine;
Love from her past to me a present giveth,
And love itself doth comfort, making pain divine.
Rest, my dear, rest. Fair showeth
That which was, and not in vain
Sacred have I kept, God knoweth,
Love’s last words atween us twain.
“Hold by our past, my only love, my lover;
Fall not, but rise, O love, by loss of me!”
Boughs from our garden, white with bloom hang over.
Love, now the children slumber, I come out to thee.
The logs burn red; she lifts her head,
For sledge-bells tinkle and tinkle, O lightly swung.
“Youth was a pleasant morning, but ah! to think ’tis fled,
Sae lang, lang syne,” quo’ her mother, “I, too, was young.”
No guides there are but the North star,
And the moaning forest tossing wild arms before,
The maiden murmurs, “O sweet were yon bells afar,
And hark! hark! hark! for he cometh, he nears the door.”
Swift north-lights show, and scatter and go.
How can I meet him, and smile not, on this cold shore?
Nay, I will call him, “Come in from the night and the snow,
And love, love, love in the wild wood, wander no more.”
Midsummer night, not dark, not light,
Dusk all the scented air,
I’ll e’en go forth to one I love,
And learn how he doth fare.
O the ring, the ring, my dear, for me,
The ring was a world too fine,
I wish it had sunk in a forty-fathom sea,
Or ever thou mad’st it mine.
Soft falls the dew, stars tremble through,
Where lone he sits apart,
Would I might steal his grief away
To hide in mine own heart.
Would, would ’twere shut in yon blossom fair,
The sorrow that bows thy head,
Then—I would gather it, to thee unaware,
And break my heart in thy stead.
That charmed flower, far from thy bower,
I’d bear the long hours through,
Thou should’st forget, and my sad breast
The sorrows twain should rue.
O sad flower, O sad, sad ring to me.
The ring was a world too fine;
And would it had sunk in a forty-fathom sea,
Ere the morn that made it mine.