I loved a little maiden
In the golden years gone by;
She lived in a mill, as they all do
(There is doubtless a reason why).
But she faded in the autumn
When the leaves began to fade,
And the night before she faded,
These words to me she said:
'Do not forget me, Henry,
Be noble and brave and true;
But I must not bide, for the world is wide,
And the sky above is blue.'
So I said farewell to my darling,
And sailed away and came back;
And the good ship Jane was in port again,
And I found that they all loved Jack.
But Polly and I were sweethearts,
As all the neighbours know,
Before I met with the mill-girl
Twenty years ago.
So I thought I would go and see her,
But alas, she had faded too!
She could not bide, for the world was wide,
And the sky above was blue.
And now I can only remember
The maid--the maid of the mill,
And Polly, and one or two others
In the churchyard over the hill.
And I sadly ask the question,
As I weep in the yew-tree's shade
With my elbow on one of their tombstones,
'Ah, why did they all of them fade?'
And the answer I half expected
Comes from the solemn yew,
'They could none of them bide, for the world was wide,
And the sky above was blue.'