"Thou hast been to the forest, thou sorrowing maiden,
Where Summer reigns Queen in her fairest array,
Where the green earth with sunshine and fragrance is laden,
And birds make sweet music throughout the long day.
Each step thou hast taken has been over flowers,
Of forms full of beauty - of perfumes most rare,
Why comest thou home, then, with footsteps so weary,
No smiles on thy lip, and no buds in thy hair?"
"Ah! my walk through the wild-wood has been full of sadness,
My thoughts were with him who there oft used to rove,
That stranger with bright eyes and smiles full of gladness
Who first taught my young heart the power of love.
He had promised to come to me ere the bright summer
With roses and sunshine had decked hill and lea.
I, simple and trusting, believed in that promise,
But summer has come, and, alas! where is he?"
"Yes, simple and trusting - ah! child, the old story!
Say, when will thy sex learn that man can forget?
Thy lover was highborn, and thou art but lowly,
Ere this he's forgotten that ever you met;
But, methought, as I watch'd thee to-day slowly treading
With step full of sadness yon green shady dell,
Thou didst pause by the brink of its bright crystal treasure,
Say, what didst thou see in our Wood Fairy's Well?"
"No sparkles of promise for me gemmed its surface,
I saw that the rose from my cheek had nigh fled,
That the eyes whose light he never weaned of praising,
Are dimmed by the tears that I for him have shed;
And I felt as I gazed that it would be far better,
E'en though I might grieve to my heart's inmost core,
That he should forget than, returning to seek me,
Should find me thus changed, and then love me no more."
"What! love thee no more! - say, to love thee forever!
See, true to my vows, I am here by thy side,
Quick to bear thee away to a fair home of splendor,
To reign there its mistress, my own gentle bride!"
Oh! moment of bliss to that girl heart, grief laden,
The lover so mourned for, no ingrate had grown,
Despite absence and change he stood there by the maiden,
With faith still unshaken and true as her own.