In the beautiful May weather,
Lapsing soon into June;
On a golden, golden day
Of the green and golden May,
When our hearts were beating tune
To the coming feet of June,
Walked we in the woods together.
Gleamed the ash buds through the darkness
of the pine,
And the waters of the stream
Glance and gleam,
Like a silver-footed dream--
Into shadows dun and brown
Calling still--Oh hear! Oh follow!
Down through glen and ferny hollow,
Lit with patches of the sky,
Shining through the trees so high,
Hand in hand we went together,
In the golden, golden weather
Of the May;
While the fleet wing of the swallow
Flashing by, called--follow--follow!
And we followed through the day:
Speaking often not at all
To the brooklet's crystal call,
With our lingering feet and slow--
Slow, and pausing here and there
For a flower, or a fern,
For the lovely maiden-hair;
Hearing voices in the air,
Calling faintly down the burn.
Still the streamlet slid away,
Singing, smiling, dimpling down
To a mossy nook and brown,
Under bending boughs of May;
Where the nodding wind-flower grows,
And the coolwort's lovely pink,
Brooding o'er the brooklet's brink
Dips and blushes like a rose.
And the faint smell of the mould.
Sweeter than the musky scent
Of the garden's manifold
Perfumes into perfect blent.
Lights and sounds and odours stole,
In the golden, golden weather--
Heart and thought, and life and soul,
In that merry, merry May,
Wandering down the burn together.
Ah Valentine--my Valentine!
Heard I, with my hand in thine,
Grave and low, and sweet and slow,
As the wood bird over head,
Brooding notes, half sung half said,--
"In the world so bleak and wide,
Hearts make Edens of their own;
Wilt thou linger by my side,--
Wilt thou live for me alone,
Making bright the winter weather,
Thou and I and love together?"
"Yea," I said, "for thee alone,"--
Shading eyes lest they confess
Too much their own happiness,
With the happy tears o'erflown.
Gravely thou--"The world is not
Like this ferny hollow--
Through a rougher, thornier lot
Wilt thou bravely follow?"
Still the brook, with softer flow,
Called, "Oh hear! Oh follow!"
"Aye," I said, with bated breath,
"Where thou goest, I will go;
Holding still thy stronger hand,
Through the dreariest desert land,
True, till death."
Silence fell between us two,
Noiseless as the silver dew;
Hearts that had no need of speech
In the silence spoke to each;
And along the sapphire blue,
Shot with shafts of sunset through,
Fell a voice, a bodiless breath--
"True, till death"
Through a mist of smiles and tears,
Doubts and fears, and toils and dreams,
Oh! how long ago it seems,
Looking back across the year
Silver threads are in my hair
And the sunset shadows slope
Back along the hills of hope
That before us shone so fair.
Ah! for us the merry May
Comes no more with golden weather;
Fields, and woods, and sunshine gay,
Purple skies, and purple heather.
We have had our holyday,
And I sit with folded hands,
In the twilight looking back
Over life's uneven track--
Thorny wilds, and desert sands.
Weary heart, unwearied faith,
In the twilight softly saith--
"We have had our golden weather--
We have walked through life together,
True, till death!"