Keeping Tryst

A poem by Nora Pembroke

Who is the maid with silken hair
By clear Maine Water roaming?
For the fairy Queen is not so fair
As she in the lonely gloaming

It is sweet Mysie of Bellee,
John Millar's lovely daughter;
She is waiting where the old elm tree
Droops over the sweet Maine Water.

"The trysting time has come and past,
The day is fast declining;
Oh my true love, are you coming fast,
For the star of love is shining?"

"The moon is bright, the ford is safe,
The market folks crossed over;
Oh, come to me, it is wearing late,
And I wait for thee, my lover.

"I fear me there will be a storm,
The clouds, with murky fingers,
Are muffling the stars o'er far Galgorm,
Where my own true lover lingers."

She turned her from the trysting tree,
So sadly home returning,
Saying "He has broken tryst with me,
And his ship sails in the morning."

She took three steps from that sad place,
Where doubt of him had found her;
And he stood before her face to face,
And he drew his arm around her.

"I thought, without one last farewell,
We had for ever parted;
And I could not of the anguish tell
That had left me broken hearted.

"My love I'm going far away;
Whatever may betide us,
Our loving hearts are one for aye,
Though the roaring seas divide us."

He broke a ring between them two;
He made a vow to bind him
To death, and beyond it to be true
To her he had left behind him.

Years passed, the maiden secretly
Watched on with anxious wonder,
For some love message; but treachery
Kept the two fond hearts asunder.

She lived in hope that he would write,
And some love token send her;
Her step grew feeble, her face grew white,
And her eyes got unearthly splendour.

And lovers they besieged her sore;
For love that she had given
To one who would come to her no more;
So she faded into heaven.

They made her grave where robins sing;
Trees whisper requiems daily;
They laid her down with her broken ring;
In her grave at Kirk ma Rielly.

Word went out of the maiden's death,
Who for true love departed;
It found him who mourned her broken faith,
And mourned her as false, falsehearted.

He turned as cold as cold, cold clay,
And fell struck down with sorrow;
"I know how my dear love died to-day,
I will die for her to-morrow.

"My love is dead so sweet and fair,
Blighted and broken hearted,
I'll keep my tryst, and together dead,
We'll rest who were falsely parted.

"Gold that my darling could not save,
That made my love derided,
Shall carry me home and dig my grave,
We'll not be in death divided."

They made his grave on Erin's breast,
Where the birds sing requiems daily;
And laid him beside his love to rest,
In the grave-yard of Kirk ma Bielly.

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