Blithe was her voice, her brow was bare,
And rippled from her radiant hair
The glow and glory of the dawn.
Her footfall scared nor doe nor fawn,
No timid songster ceased to sing;
But, wheresoe’er she strayed or stood,
Her maiden coming seemed to bring
A wider wonder to the wood,
And more of magic to the Spring.
When June is throned, and round her blows
The rambling briar and lily tall,
I saw her watch the buds unclose,
Herself, herself the loveliest rose,
And stateliest lily of them all.
The blackbirds’ fluting, cuckoo’s call,
She scarcely heard, for trembled near,
And thrilled her wheresoe’er she strayed,
That note more deep, that voice more dear,
That lures to love the listening maid,
When half is fondness, half is fear.
Among the rows of ripened sheaves,
And orchard harvests golden-red,
The tapestry that Autumn weaves
From fallen fruit and fading leaves,
Pensive she paced with matron tread.
Low was her voice, but all she said
Seemed strangely true, and deeply wise;
And mute her offspring gathered round,
To gaze into her tranquil eyes,
And listen to the sacred sound
Of mellow words and meek replies.
Now by the wintry hearth she sits,
Grey guardian of the household fire,
Foretells the Future, as she knits,
Then back her loving memory flits
To bygone days and dead desire.
Anon her fingers seem to tire,
And weary sense to droop its wing;
But, though her gaze hath feebler grown,
Nor knows she what the children sing,
She sees the Lamb before the Throne,
And hears the Angels canticling.

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