At length died too this kinless woman,
As he had died she had grown to crave;
And at her dying she besought them
To bury her in his grave.
Such said, she had paused; until she added:
“Call me by his name on the stone,
As I were, first to last, his dearest,
Not she who left him lone!”
And this they did. And so it became there
That, by the strength of a tender whim,
The stranger was she who bore his name there,
Not she who wedded him.
I sang that song on Sunday,
To witch an idle while,
I sang that song on Monday,
As fittest to beguile;
I sang it as the year outwore,
And the new slid in;
I thought not what might shape before
Another would begin.
I sang that song in summer,
To him as a new-comer
From regions strange to me:
I sang it when in afteryears
The shades stretched out,
And paths were faint; and flocking fears
Brought cup-eyed care and doubt.
Sings he that song on Sundays
In some dim land afar,
On Saturdays, or Mondays,
As when the evening star
Glimpsed in upon his bending face
And my hanging hair,
And time untouched me with a trace
Of soul-smart or despair?
Nine drops of water bead the jessamine, And nine-and-ninety smear the stones and tiles: - ’Twas not so in that August—full-rayed, fine— When we lived out-of-doors, sang songs, strode miles.
Or was there then no noted radiancy
Of summer? Were dun clouds, a dribbling bough,
Gilt over by the light I bore in me,
And was the waste world just the same as now?
It can have been so: yea, that threatenings
Of coming down-drip on the sunless gray,
By the then possibilities in things
Were wrought more bright than brightest skies to-day.
“It was not you I came to please,
Only myself,” flipped she;
“I like this spot of phantasies,
And thought you far from me.”
But O, he was the secret spell
That led her to the lea!
“It was not she who shaped my ways,
Or works, or thoughts,” he said.
“I scarcely marked her living days,
Or missed her much when dead.”
But O, his joyance knew its knell
When daisies hid her head!
Joyful lady, sing!
And I will lurk here listening,
Though nought be done, and nought begun,
And work-hours swift are scurrying.
Sing, O lady, still!
Aye, I will wait each note you trill,
Though duties due that press to do
This whole day long I unfulfil.