The Bride

A poem by John Charles McNeill

The little white bride is left alone
With him, her lord; the guests have gone;
The festal hall is dim.
No jesting now, nor answering mirth.
The hush of sleep falls on the earth
And leaves her here with him.

Why should there be, O little white bride,
When the world has left you by his side,
A tear to brim your eyes?
Some old love-face that comes again,
Some old love-moment sweet with pain
Of passionate memories?

Does your heart yearn back with last regret
For the maiden meads of mignonette
And the fairy-haunted wood,
That you had not withheld from love,
A little while, the freedom of
Your happy maidenhood?

Or is it but a nameless fear,
A wordless joy, that calls the tear
In dumb appeal to rise,
When, looking on him where he stands,
You yield up all into his hands,
Pleading into his eyes?

For days that laugh or nights that weep
You two strike oars across the deep
With life's tide at the brim;
And all time's beauty, all love's grace
Beams, little bride, upon your face
Here, looking up at him.

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