And so it is true that a woman’s wile
A man may with safety slight,
At worst it may be but nature’s guile
To procure what is nature’s right.
But a woman’s wrath, if once inflamed
By a sense of fond love betrayed,
No cunning device by cunning framed
Has ever that passion laid.
THE BALLAD OF AGE AND YOUTH.
I left yon stately castle on the height,
The ancient halls of lordly Ravenslee,
Wherein was met, in grandeur all bedight,
Of knights and dames a gallant companie;
For I was in a misanthropic mood,
And deemed that gay galaverie false and vain,
And wished to lie or loiter in some wood,
And give my fancy her unbridled rein.
I left them all in flush of pleasure’s sport,
Some knights with damoiselles gone forth to woo,
Some listing gleemen in the ballion court,
Some deep in ombre, some at lanterloo,
Some gone a-hawking with the merlyon,
Some at their noon-meat sipping Spanish wine,
Some conning old romances on the lawn,
And all to meet in hall at hour of dine.
Down in Dalmossie dell I sought a nook
Beneath a thick and widely-spreading tree,
And there I sat to con my little book,
My book of old black-letter grammarie.
All stillness in that deep and lonely dell
Save hum of bumble-bee on nimble wing,
Or zephyr sporting round the wild blue bell,
While fancy feigned some tiny tinkle-ring.
Lo! come from yonder sheiling by the burn
An aged pair whom Time claimed as his own—
Their clothes all brown, and sere and sadly worn,
But brushed and clean, and tentily put on.
I noted well the signs of their great eild,
Their shrunken limbs, their locks of snowy hair,
The wobbling walk, the bowing, bending bield,
The wrinkled cheeks, and looks of dule and care.
I thought on hapless man—with changing
Each day more furrowed as he wears along.
He looks into the glass to cry Alace!
Alace for that spring time that’s past and gone!
He looks askance, and sees young eyes that lour
On him, so comely once, unsightly grown:
The faded roses make a scented bower,
But aged man seems spurned by man alone.
Yet happy he who, changing with advance,
Has bright and golden hopes beyond the sun;
He can give back their saucy, pitying glance,
Who set such wondrous price their youth upon.
Their night will come in turn, yea, comes apace,
Without, mayhap, the hope of brighter day,
When age-worn looks will don their native grace,
And feel no more this world’s despised decay.