Is it a dream, or do I see 40
And hear frail Helen? I would flee
Thy tainting touch; but former years
Arise, and bring forbidden tears;
And my o’erburthened memory
Seeks yet its lost repose in thee. 45
I share thy crime. I cannot choose
But weep for thee: mine own strange grief
But seldom stoops to such relief:
Nor ever did I love thee less,
Though mourning o’er thy wickedness 50
Even with a sister’s woe. I knew
What to the evil world is due,
And therefore sternly did refuse
To link me with the infamy
Of one so lost as Helen. Now 55
Bewildered by my dire despair,
Wondering I blush, and weep that thou
Should’st love me still,—thou only!—There,
Let us sit on that gray stone
Till our mournful talk be done. 60
Alas! not there; I cannot bear
The murmur of this lake to hear.
A sound from there, Rosalind dear,
Which never yet I heard elsewhere
But in our native land, recurs, 65
Even here where now we meet. It stirs
Too much of suffocating sorrow!
In the dell of yon dark chestnutwood
Is a stone seat, a solitude
Less like our own. The ghost of Peace 70
Will not desert this spot. To-morrow,
If thy kind feelings should not cease,
We may sit here.
Thou lead, my sweet,
And I will follow.
’Tis Fenici’s seat
Where you are going? This is not the way, 75
Mamma; it leads behind those trees that grow
Close to the little river.
Yes: I know;
I was bewildered. Kiss me and be gay,
Dear boy: why do you sob?
I do not know:
But it might break any one’s heart to see 80
You and the lady cry so bitterly.
It is a gentle child, my friend. Go home,
Henry, and play with Lilla till I come.
We only cried with joy to see each other;
We are quite merry now: Good-night.
Lifted a sudden look upon his mother,
And in the gleam of forced and hollow joy
Which lightened o’er her face, laughed with the glee
Of light and unsuspecting infancy,
And whispered in her ear, ’Bring home with you 90
That sweet strange lady-friend.’ Then off he flew,
But stopped, and beckoned with a meaning smile,
Where the road turned. Pale Rosalind the while,
Hiding her face, stood weeping silently.