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On my finger is a ring
Little sister, thou art pale !
Ah, I have a wandering brain-
And my thoughts grow calm again.
Dear, I heard thee in the spring,
Thee and Robert-through the trees,When we all went gathering
Boughs of May-bloom for the bees.
What a day it was, that day!
Hills and vales did openly
At the sight of the great sky:
Through the winding hedgerows green,
How we wandered, I and you, With the bowery tops shut in,
And the gates that showed the view ! How we talked there ! thrushes soft Sang our praises out, or oft Bleatings took them, from the croft :
Till the pleasure grown too strong
Left me muter evermore,
I walked out of sight, before,
I sat down beneath the beech
Which leans over to the lane,
Did not promise any pain ;
But the sound grew into word
As the speakers drew more near-
What you wished me not to hear,
Yes, and he too ! let him stand
In thy thoughts, untouched by blame. Could he help it, if my hand
He had claimed with hasty claim ? That was wrong perhaps—but then Such things be—and will, again. Women cannot judge for men.
Had he seen thee when he swore
He would love but me alone? Thou wast absent, sent before
To our kin in Sidmouth town.
When he saw thee who art best
Could we blame him with grave words,
Thou and I, De if we might ? Thy brown eyes have looks like birds
Flying straightway to the light: Mine are older.-Hush !- look outUp the street! Is none without ? How the poplar swings about !
And that hour-beneath the beech,
When I listened in a dream,
That he owed me all esteem,-
I fell flooded with a dark,
In the silence of a swoon. When I rose, still cold and stark,
There was night; I saw the moon : And the stars, each in its place, And the May-blooms on the grass, Seemed to wonder what I was.
And I walked as if apart
From myself, when I could stand,
As if I held it in my hand,
And I answered coldly too,
When you met me at the door ; And I only heard the dew
Dripping from me to the floor : And the flowers I bade you see, Were too withered for the bee,As my life, henceforth, for me.
Do not weep so—Dear--heart-warm !
I speak wild,- I am not well.
Then I always was too grave,
Liked the saddest ballad sung, --
In our faces, who die young.
We are so unlike each other,
Thou and I, that none could guess We were children of one mother,
But for mutual tenderness.
I am pale as crocus grows
Close behind a rose-tree's root; Whosoe'er would reach the rose,
Treads the crocus underfoot.
I, like May-bloom on thorn-tree,
Yet who plucks me ?-no one mourns,
I have lived my season out, And now die of my own thorns
Which I could not live without. Sweet, be merry! How the light Comes and goes! If it be night Keep the candles in my sight.
Are there footsteps at the door?
Look out quickly. Yea, or nay? Some one might be waiting for
Some last word that I might say. Nay? So best!-so angels would Stand off clear from deathly road, Not to cross the sight of God.
Colder grow my hands and feet.
When I wear the shroud I made,
And the rosemary be spread,
And, dear Bertha, let me keep
On my hand this little ring, Which at nights, when others sleep,
I can still see glittering.