Her Bridal.

The clanging steeple dins the air,1
The banners flutter gay,2
The maidens scatter roses fair3
Along their homeward way ;4
And courtly bends the gallant, proud5
To lead so sweet a bride ;6
She turns upon the greeting crowd7
No gentle look aside ;8
No tender glance of love apart9
To her high lord the while,10
For memory of one trusting heart11
That thrill’d ’neath such a smile,12
He who first dared to seek her love,—13
To seek it ? ay, to win,—14
Whom now (O pain all pain above !)15
To think of is to sin.16
He turns away, too stern for tears,17
With haggard looks and wan,18
A simple boy, it seems, in years,19
In grief an agèd man.20
Long life may yet be his, to give21
The wreck of faith full scope,22
Long years of suffering to live23
And nurse the widow’d hope :24
Long, long unsolac’d vigils yet,25
Visions of sadden’d eyes26
To mock the mourner’s mad regret27
With guilty sympathies.28
For seems not ever life too long29
That lingers on a waste,30
And such a sorrow’s hand too strong31
To be full soon displaced ?32
Not falling on some foreign strand,33
In battle’s reddest glow,34
With dinted brand in fainting hand,35
And face towards the foe ;36
Not sinking with some shatter’d ship,37
Were it so hard to part38
From her whose name were on the lip,39
Whose image on the heart :40
Not bending o’er the hopeless bed,41
Watching the dear one die,—42
Kneeling beside the dear one dead,43
Were half the agony44
That sears the soul, and burns the brow,45
At consciousness of this,46
That lips once his are shrinking now47
Beneath a barter’d kiss !48