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(1840 - 1922 / England)

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A Ballad Of The Heather

We spent a day together,
One day of all our lives,
Of love in cloudless weather--
Such only youth contrives--
One day in the red heather,
Alone with our two lives.

The tall grey rocks were near us,
The birch--trees lent us shade,
The moorfowl did not fear us,
Nor was the fox afraid.
No other life was near us
Of matron, man or maid.

The glory of the morning
Had made our pulses beat,
The dangers we were scorning,
The pleadings of retreat,
Her mother's eyes of warning,
The foes that we might meet.

Earth's silence was our token,
The sunlight on the hill.
We whispered things unspoken,
We stopped and gazed our fill.
The stillness was not broken,
Save thus at our own will.

We sat down by the water,
A green and quiet place.
She ate what I had brought her
When she had said her grace.
She was Eve's fairest daughter.
I kneeled and kissed her face.

O Love, what deeds thou darest,
When truth is on thy lips!
What royal robes thou wearest!
What wealth is in thy ships!
What glories thou declarest
With thy mad finger--tips!

We called on the high Heaven
In witness of our troth,
From morning until even,
While time was little loath
To give and be forgiven
The dear love in us both.

Aloft the raven scouting
Gave warning to the glen.
We heard a sound of shouting
The tramp of angry men.
No time was there for doubting,
And I was one to ten.

I hid her in the braken,
A brood--bird on its nest.
She wept as one forsaken
And held me to her breast.
We dared not thus be taken.
I fled, for it was best.

They passed her by unheeded.
They hunted me in sight.
I lured them while she needed,
A lapwing feigning flight.
Then o'er the hills I speeded
And left them to the night.

Alas, dear love, together
No more in all our lives
Shall we in cloudless weather,
Outwitting maids and wives,
Take joy of the red heather
And love and our two lives.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010


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