Sarah Margaret Fuller (1810-1850 / the United States)
A Maiden Sat Beneath a Tree
'A maiden sat beneath a tree;
Tear-bedewed her pale cheeks be,
And she sigheth heavily.
'From forth the wood into the light
A hunter strides with carol light,
And a glance so bold and bright.
'He careless stopped and eyed the maid:
'Why weepest thou ?' he gently said;
'I love thee well, be not afraid.'
'He takes her hand and leads her on —
She should have waited there alone,
For he was not her chosen one.
'He leans her head upon his breast —
She knew 'twas not her home of rest,
But, ah, she had been sore distrest.
'The sacred stars looked sadly down;
The parting moon appeared to frown,
To see thus dimmed the diamond crown.
'Then from the thicket starts a deer —
The huntsman, seizing on his spear
Cries, 'Maiden, wait thou for me here.'
'She sees him vanish into night —
She starts from sleep in deep affright,
For it was not her own true knight.
'Though but in dream Gunhilda failed —
Though but a fancied ill assailed —
Though she but fancied fault bewailed —
'Yet thought of day makes dream of night;
She is not worthy of the knight;
The inmost altar burns not bright.
'If loneliness thou canst not bear —
Cannot the dragon's venom dare —
Of the pure meed thou shoulds't despair.
'Now sadder that lone maiden sighs;
Far bitterer tears profane her eyes;
Crushed in the dust her heart's flower lies.'
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