From the piano I draw forth a peal,
Greeting the sound with a smile and a sigh,
Singing ‘The Last Rose of Summer,’ I feel
That summer and roses can never die!
’Twas a beautiful evening, fresh
Earth sweeter far than impossible skies;
My heart beating light as a bird in air,
When Harry brought home with him Jack Devize.
Did no presentiment touch me that day?
Never a soupcon of evil or ill?
No, the world was bright with Harry away,
And when Harry came back it was brighter still.
The man stood there, and his shadow was
Straight at my feet by the sunset decrees;
I mark’d it well, and I was not afraid;
And when Harry nam’d him I smil’d with ease.
The roses poured out their exquisite scent,
Birds gave us the sweetest music they had,
And the little grasses daintily bent
In the tender breeze, as if they were glad.
Are there not angels to guard us and keep?
Are spirits not round us hidden from sight?
Oh! angels and spirits were all asleep,
Or they must have warn’d me that fatal night.
I have wak’d with the thought of
an absent friend
(And others I know who have done the same),
And have felt ’ere I see the daylight’s end,
Her letter must come—and her letter came.
I have run indoors with the happy thought
That something pleasant was going to be,
And—coincidence strange!—my eye has caught
The sight of the thing it desired to see.
I have felt a depression all the day,
A dullness for which I could not account,
And a flower has died—a dog run away—
Or a horse gone lame that I wish’d to mount.
And if from the regions of mysteries Something can warn us of trifles like these; How could it be I met Mr. Devize With a smiling face and a heart at ease?
No dream at night, when by wonderful laws
The bodies are dead, the spirits alive;
No little heart—sinking without a cause
When the perfect sunshine made nature thrive;
No omen or signal, little or great,
Not a quicken’d pulse or a flutter’d breath;—
So Harry and I rush’d on to our fate,
And the unseen world was passive as Death.
We stroll’d through the gardens
till dinner came,
The scented breezes were faultlessly sweet;
The sun went suddenly down in a flame,
While the birds their jubilant hymns repeat,
We chatted at dinner, and afterwards,
And the moments pleasantly slid away,
But when Mr. Devize suggested cards,
I laughingly told him I could not play.
The cards are produced; the men begin;
I sit by Harry and watch his hand;
I am very eager that he should win,
And when he does so, I feel very grand.
’Twas all very well for once you
Its novelty made it a thing to praise;
It was quite a joke for a girl like me,
Living with men and observing their ways.