(Macmillan's Magazine, May 1865.)
Where were you last night? I watched at the gate;
I went down early, I stayed down late.
Were you snug at home, I should like to know,
Or were you in the coppice wheedling Kate?
She's a fine girl, with a fine clear skin;
Easy to woo, perhaps not hard to win.
Speak up like a man and tell me the truth:
I'm not one to grow downhearted and thin.
If you love her best speak up like a man;
It's not I will stand in the light of your plan:
Some girls might cry and scold you a bit,
And say they couldn't bear it; but I can.
Love was pleasant enough, and the days went fast;
Pleasant while it lasted, but it needn't last;
Awhile on the wax and awhile on the wane,
Now dropped away into the past.
Was it pleasant to you? To me it was;
Now clean gone as an image from glass,
As a goodly rainbow that fades away,
As dew that steams upward from the grass,
As the first spring day, or the last summer day,
As the sunset flush that leaves heaven grey,
As a flame burnt out for lack of oil,
Which no pains relight or ever may.
Good luck to Kate and good luck to you:
I guess she'll be kind when you come to woo.
I wish her a pretty face that will last,
I wish her a husband steady and true.
Hate you? not I, my very good friend;
All things begin and all have an end.
But let broken be broken; I put no faith
In quacks who set up to patch and mend.
Just my love and one word to Kate:
Not to let time slip if she means to mate; -
For even such a thing has been known
As to miss the chance while we weigh and wait.