Throughout the country for many a mile
There is not a nobler, statelier pile
Than ivy crowned Rathmore Hall;
And the giant oaks that shadow the wold,
Though hollowed by time, are not as old
As its Norman turrets tall.
Let us follow that stream of sunset red,
Crimsoning the portal overhead,
Stealing through curtaining lace,
Where sits in a spacious and lofty room
Full of gems of art - exotics in bloom -
The Lady of the place.
If Rathmore Hall is with praises named,
Not less is its queen-like mistress famed
For wondrous beauty and grace;
And as she reclines there, calmly now,
The sunset flush on her ivory brow,
We marvel at form and face.
Wondrously perfect, peerlessly fair,
Are the mouth and the eyes and luxuriant hair,
As lily she's graceful and fall;
Not florid full is that lady fair
But pale and high-bred, with just the air
That is suited to Rathmore Hall.
Health, youth, and loveliness on her smile,
Her abode that noble and ancient pile,
She, surely, must happy be -
(With each wish fulfilled that wealth can fulfil,
For as if by magic is wrought her will)
A moment wait - we shall see!
At length she moves and heavily sighs,
While wearily rest her violet eyes
On her jewels richly wrought;
Shuddering, she turns away her gaze
From flashing diamond and ruby's blaze,
As she whispers, "Too dearly bought!"
Then, slowly rising, the casement nears,
And looking abroad through a mist of tears
Sighs: "Yes, I have earned it all:
Crushed a manly heart that too truly loved,
False to my. vows and to honor proved,
To be Lady of Rathmore Hall.
"What are now its broad rich acres to me,
Stretching out as far as my gaze can see?
With loathing I turn from the scene;
My womanhood wasting in wild regret
O'er a past that I would, but cannot, forget;
O'er a life that might have been!
"Oh! for the humble, dear home of my youth,
Its loving warm hearts, its unsullied truth,
Its freedom from fashion's thrall.
And the blameless hopes - the bliss that was mine
Ere awoke in my heart a wish to shine
As Lady of Rathmore Hall!"
She stops, for, lo! in the chamber still,
Loud barking of hounds and harsh accents fill
The quiet and dreamy air;
Swearing at menials - with lowering brow,
Earl Rathmore, entering her presence now,
Turns on her an angry stare.
A shudder runs through her - what does it tell?
A look in her eyes that not there should dwell -
She hates him - his wedded wife!
Surely angels grieve in their bliss above
To see, where there should be perfect love,
Disunion - unholy strife.
With an oath he mutters "Still moping, eh!
From hour to hour and day to-day;
Not for this from thy lowly state -
Enticed by the beauty I'm weary of now,
And smiles that have fled from thy sullen brow -
I made thee a Rathmore's mate."
With no word from her lips she to him replies,
But the shadow deepens within her eyes,
And she smiles in cold disdain;
Yet her snowy eyelids haughty droop,
And the calm, that disdains to his will to stoop,
Mask an aching heart and brain.
With a muttered curse, in still harsher tone,
He passes out, and thus leaves her alone
In her rich and gilded gloom
Ah, no wretched wife through the whole broad land
Is as weary of life as that lady grand
As she sits in that splendid room.
If a daughter's soft arms should ever twine,
Lady Rathmore, round that white neck of thine,
Teach her not to barter all
The guileless love of her innocent youth,
Her premised vows and maidenly truth,
For another Rathmore Hall.