Why turn from me thus with such petulant pride,
When I ask thee, sweet Edith, to be my bride;
When I offer the gift of heart fond and true,
And with loyalty seek thy young love to woo?
With patience I've waited from week unto week,
And at length I must openly, candidly speak.
But why dost thou watch me in doubting surprise,
Why thus dost thou raise thy dark, deep, melting eyes?
Can'st thou wonder I love thee, when for the last year
We have whispered and flirted - told each hope and fear;
When I've lavished on thee presents costly and gay,
And kissed thy fair hands at least six times each day?
What! Do I hear right? So those long sunny hours
Spent wand'ring in woods or whispering in bowers,
Our love-making ardent in prose and in rhyme,
Was just only a method of passing the time!
A harmless flirtation - the fashion just now,
To be closed, by a smile, or a jest, or a bow!
Ah, believe me, fair Edith, with me 'twas not so,
And I would I had known this but six months ago;
I would not have wasted on false, luring smiles,
On graces coquettish and cold, studied wiles,
True love that would give thee a life for thy life,
And guarded and prized thee, a fond, worshipped wife.
Oh I thou'rt pleased now to whisper my manners are good,
And my smiles such as maiden's heart rarely withstood,
My age just the thing - nor too young nor too old -
My character faultless, naught lacking but gold,
And to-day might I claim e'en thy beauty so rare
If good Uncle John would but make me his heir.
Many thanks, my best Edith! I now understand
For what thou art willing, to barter thy hand:
A palace-like mansion with front of brown stone,
In some splendid quarter to fashion well known,
Sèvres china, conservatory, furniture rare,
Unlimited pin-money, phaeton and pair.
It is well, gentle lady! The price is not high
With a figure like thine, such a hand, such an eye,
Most brilliant accomplishments, statuesque face,
Manners, carriage distingué and queenlike in grace, -
Nothing wanting whatever, save only a heart,
But, instead, double portions of cunning and art.
Ah! well for me, lady, I have learned in good time
To save myself misery - you, sordid crime.
I will garner the love that so lately was thine
For one who can give me a love true as mine;
But learn ere we part, Edith, peerless and fair,
Uncle John has just died and has left me his heir!