My Maid Marian.

Spring comes, with violet eyes unveiled,1
Her fragrant lips apart ;2
And Earth smiles up as tho’ she held,3
Most honeyed thoughts at heart.4
But never more will Spring arise,5
Dancing in sparkles of her eyes.6
A gracious wind, low-breathing, comes7
As from the fields of God ;8
The old lost Eden newly blooms9
From out the sunny sod.10
My buried joy stirs with the Earth,11
And tries to sun its sweetness forth.12
The trees move in their slumbering,13
Dreaming of one that’s near14
Put forth their feelers for the Spring,15
To wake and find her here.16
My spirit on the threshold stands,17
And stretches out its waiting hands ;18
Then floweth from me in a stream19
Of yearning ! wave on wave20
Slides thro’ the stillness of a dream,21
By little Marian’s grave.22
For all the miracle of Spring,23
My long-lost babe will never bring.24
Where blooms the golden crocus-burst,25
And Winter’s tenderling,26
There lies my little snowdrop ! first27
Of flowers in our love’s Spring.28
How all the year’s young beauties blow29
About her there, I know, I know.30
The blackbird with his warble wet,31
The thrush with reedy thrill,32
Open their hearts to Spring, and let33
The influence have its will.34
On all around the Spring hath smiled,35
But seems to have kissed where lies my child36
In purple shadow, and golden shine,37
Old Arthur’s Seat stands crowned ;38
Like shapes of silence crystalline,39
The great white clouds sail round.40
The dead at rest the long day thro’,41
Lie calm against the pictured blue.42
O Marian ! my maid Marian ! 43
So strange it seems to me,44
That you, the household’s darling one,45
So soon should cease to be.46
Ah, was it that our praying breath47
Might kindle heavenward fires of faith ?48
So much forgiven for your sake,49
When bitter words were said !50
And little arms about the neck,51
With blessings bowed the head.52
So happy as we might have been,53
Our hearts more close with you between.54
Dear, early dewdrop ! Such a gleam55
Of sun from heaven you drew ;56
We little thought that smiling beam57
Would drink our precious dew.58
But back to heaven our dew was kissed,59
We saw it pass in mournful mist.60
My lowly home was lofty-crowned,61
With three sweet budding girls ;62
Our sacred marriage-ring set round63
With darling wee love-pearls.64
One jewel from the ring is gone !65
One fills a grave in Warriston.66
We bore her beauty in our breast,67
As heaven bears the dawn ;68
We brooded over her dear nest,69
With hearts still closer drawn,70
That thrilled and listened, watch’d and throbbed,71
And strayed not, yet the nest was robbed.72
“Stay yet a little while, beloved !”73
In vain our prayerful breath,74
Across Heaven’s lighted window moved75
The shadow of black death.76
In vain our hands were stretch’d to save,77
There closed the gateways of the grave.78
Could my death-vision have darkened up79
In her sweet face, my child !80
I scarce should see the bitter cup,81
I could have drunk, and smiled,82
Blessing her with my last wrung breath,83
Dear angel in my dream of death.84
Her memory is like music we85
Have heard some singer sing,86
That thrills life thro’, and echoingly,87
Our hearts for ever ring.88
We try it o’er and o’er again,89
But ne’er recal the wondrous strain.90
My proud heart like a river runs, 91
Lying awake o’ nights, 92
I see her with the shining ones, 93
Upon the shining heights ; 94
And a wee angel face will peep 95
Down, star-like, thro’ the veil of sleep.96
My yearnings try to get their wings,97
And float me up afar,98
As in the dawn the skylark springs99
To reach some distant star,100
That all night long swam down to him101
In brightness, but at morn grew dim.102
She is a spirit of light, that leavens103
The darkness where we wait,104
And star-like opens in the heavens105
A little golden gate !106
Ah, may we wake and find her near,107
When work and sleep are over here.108
In some far spring of brighter bloom,109
More life and ampler breath,110
My bud hath burst the folding gloom,111
A flower from dusty death.112
We wonder will she be much grown,113
And how will her new name be known.114
I saw her ribboned robe this morn,115
Mine own lost little child ;116
Wee shoes her tiny feet had worn,117
And then my heart grew wild.118
We only trust our hearts to peep119
In on them when we want to weep.120
But hearts will break, or eyes must weep,121
And so we bend above,122
These treasures of old times that keep123
The fragrance of young love.124
The harvest field, tho’ reap’d and bare,125
Hath still a patient gleaner there.126
I never think of her sweet eyes,127
In dusty death now dim,128
But waters of my heart arise,129
And there they smile and swim.130
Forget-me-nots, so blue, so dear,131
Swim in the waters of a tear !132
How often in the days gone by,133
She lifted her dear head,134
And stretch’d wee arms for me to lie135
Down in her little bed,136
And cradled in my happy breast,137
Was softly carried into rest.138
And now when life is sore oppressed,139
And runs with weary wave,140
I long to lay me down and rest141
In little Marian’s grave ;142
To smile as peaceful as she smiled,143
For I am now the nestling child.144
The patient calm that comes with years,145
Hath made us cease to fret ;146
Tho’ often in the sudden tears,147
Dumb hearts will quiver yet !148
And each one turns the face, and tries149
To hide who looks through parent eyes.150