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I vowed to thee on rosary (dead father, look not so !)
love, my love ! I felt him near again ! I saw his steed on mountain-head, I heard it on the
plain ! Was this no weal for me to feel? Is greater weal than
this? Yet when he came, I wept his name--and the angels
heard but his.
Ah me, the sun ! the dreamlight 'gins to pine,Ah me, how dread can look the Dead! Aroint thee,
She starteth from slumber, she sitteth upright,
orn for a bridal ; the
merry bride-bell Rings clear through the greenwood that skirts the
And the priest at the altar awaiteth the bride,
At the work shall be doing ;
While down through the wood rides that fair company,
“And so endeth a wooing ! ”
And the bride and the bridegroom are leading the way,
When she sigheth or speaketh.
And the tender bride-mother breaks off unaware
Is it play that he seeketh ?
Is it play, when his eyes wander innocent-wild
On his head like a glory.
“O fair-featured maids, ye are many !” he cried, “ But in fairness and vileness who matcheth the bride? O brave-hearted youths, ye are many, but whom For the courage and woe can ye match with the groom
As ye see them before ye ?"
Out spake the bride's mother, “ The vileness is thine
Out spake the bride's lover, “ The vileness be mine
And the charge be unprovëd.
“Bring the charge, prove the charge, brother ! speak it
aloud: Let thy father and hers hear it deep in his shroud !” _“O father, thou seest, for dead eyes can see, How she wears on her bosom a brown rosary,
O my father belovëd!”
Then outlaughed the bridegroom, and outlaughed withal Both maidens and youths by the old chapel-wall : “So she weareth no love-gift, kind brother," quoth he, “She may wear an she listeth a brown rosary,
Like a pure-hearted lady.”
Then swept through the chapel the long bridal train ;
Faint with daylight, but steady.
But her brother had passed in between them and her
As he would for another.
He knelt like a child marble-sculptured and white
From the face of a mother.
“In your chapel, O priest, ye have wedded and shriven Fair wives for the hearth, and fair sinners for heaven;
But this fairest my sister, ye think now to wed,
O shrive her and wed not !”
In tears, the bride's mother,—“ Sir priest, unto thee
Be the charge proved or said not !”
Then serene in his childhood he lifted his face,
Is it used for the praying ?”
The youths looked aside—to laugh there were a sinAnd the maidens' lips trembled from smiles shut within : Quoth the priest,“ Thou art wild, pretty boy! Blessëd she Who prefers at her bridal a brown rosary
To a worldly arraying."
The bridegroom spake low and led onward the bride,
Who laughed by the altar?
The maidens looked forward, the youths looked around. The bridegroom's eye flashed from his prayer at the
sound; And each saw the bride, as if no bride she were, Gazing cold at the priest without gesture of prayer,
As he read from the psalter.
The priest never knew that she did so, but still
And whenever the Great Name was there to be read,
Or the air could not hold it.
“I have sinnëd," quoth he, “I have sinnëd, I wot”.
As the choristers told it
The rite-book is closed, and the rite being done
No saint at her praying!
What aileth the bridegroom? He glares blank and
Then suddenly turning he kisseth the bride ; His lip stung her with cold ; she glanced upwardly mute : “Mine own wife," he said, and fell stark at her foot
In the word he was saying.
They have lifted him up, but his head sinks away,
Long and still was her gaze while they chafëd him there And breathed in the mouth whose last life had kissed
her; But when they stood up-only they! with a start The shriek from her soul struck her pale lips apart :
She has lived, and foregone him !