IX.—The Fugitives.

Dear love, we have left them behind us !1
Behind us, and far below !2
They will search a month ere they find us3
In the hill-wood where we go.4
Listen ! . . . that is the voice of the forest,5
It is whispering us words of cheer :6
Ah, my heart, when my heart was sorest,7
Has often been healed up here !8
Why do you cling to me, darling,9
And bury your face in my breast ?10
You may well be at case where the starling11
Has grown a familiar guest.12
The forest and the mountain13
And I are old, old friends,14
And the wild birds and the fountain15
And the sky that over them bends ;16
And the friends of my youth and my childhood,17
Thou maiden of the sea18
That hidest thy face in the wild wood,—19
How could they be foes to thee ?20
Look up, my own heart maiden !21
No foot of man comes here ;22
’Tis tenantless as Eden23
Throughout the tranquil year !—24
But I am nearly forgetting25
Old Philip and his wife :26
From sunrise to sunsetting27
They lead a simple life.28
’Tis sixty years since he brought her29
To share his board and bed ;30
And they had a son and a daughter31
But she is long since dead.32
And the boy became a soldier33
And marched to the wars away :34
And the old couple grow still older35
In the wood here where they stay.36
How brightly your eyes are shining,37
And but the trace of a tear !38
With your cheek on my arm reclining,39
Dear heart, you should have no fear.40
They sit far up on the mountain41
Beside their clean-swept hearth,42
Where the river is only a fountain43
And heaven is nearer than earth.44
The goodwife knits her stocking,45
And Philip should trap the game ;46
But he’s old, so the birds are flocking47
And the blue hares are quite tame.48
The mother thinks of her daughter49
And her hair that outshone the sun ;50
But Philip dreams of slaughter,51
And of his wayward son.52
There is none, you know, to advise her,53
Excepting her prejudiced mate.54
Ah, heaven ! the mother is wiser55
As love is better than hate.56
So the mother knits and fondles57
In fancy the flaxen hair,58
While Philip a sabre handles,59
And starts in his sleep in his chair.60
How far to their cottage is it ?—61
A good hour’s climb, I should say :62
Of course, we must pay them a visit,63
And they’re sure to ask us to stay.64
So now, sweetheart, if you’re rested,65
We’ll farther up the wood :66
Many a night have I nested67
Here in the solitude.68
It’s grand in the wood in the sunlight69
As the sunlight’s falling now,70
But I like it too when the wan light71
Of the moon is on each bough.72
Look back ! she is floating yonder73
I saw her between the trees74
When their fringes were drawn asunder75
By the fingers of the breeze.76
How naked and forsaken77
She shrinks through the blue day-sky !78
At night, never fear, she’ll awaken79
And lift her horn on high.80
Look up through the boles before us,81
And the long clear slanting lines82
Where the light that shimmers o’er us83
Is sifted through the pines !84
It’s a good hour yet till gloaming,85
And then we’ve Selené’s light ;86
And it’s pleasant this woodland roaming87
In search of a home for the night.88
Give me your hand, my darling !89
We’re safe in the solitude ;90
In the world beneath us there’s snarling91
There’s peace in the mountain wood.92