BETA

First Love.

A man and a woman walking outdoors. The man is carrying a cane. There are deer in the background. 1/2 page.
She was the first, the only star1
That shone upon my life,2
The summer of my days had sect3
Before I called her wife ;4
The leaves have fallen twenty times5
Beneath our trysting tree,6
Since the ringers shook the rafters7
In the belfry by the sea.8
The pulses of my heart beat slow,9
With calm, unflutter’d stroke,10
Till with a party from the Grange11
I pic-nic’d at the Oak ;12
A stranger to our Forest ways,13
She came with Alan’s bride,14
One glance—I knew my love was come—15
The old indifference died.16
The park, a summer’s walk across,17
Was famous in the shire ;18
The porter at the crested gates19
Grew rich and blessed the Squire ;20
I show’d the glade where ballads say21
The King met Robin Hood,22
I took her where, as boys, we cropp’d23
Wild strawberries in the wood.24
The gardens and the orange-trees,25
The swans upon the lake,26
The gazing stags among the fern,27
The pheasants in the brake :28
These sumptuous signs of wealthy state29
She saw with sweet surprise,30
And I——new light was on them all,31
Seen with a lover’s eyes.32
When Alan blew his warning horn,33
My chestnut join’d her bay ;34
Down the long grassy “ rides” we rode,35
And watch’ the rabbits play.36
The dead sun in his crimson shroud37
Lay buried in the west,38
And Love was nestling in my heart,39
An inmate, not a guest.40
A gipsy party gaily plann’d,41
A smile, a soft “ good night,”42
And then I left the low white house,43
Just as the stars were bright :—44
Lost in some far, forgotten sea,45
The sailor on the shore46
Sights, to his joy, the ship that comes47
To bear him home once more.48
The bride moon with her dower of stars49
Twice grew to matron age,50
Before my birdie flew away.51
Back to her northern cage ;52
She knew the abbey pictures well,53
She dared the haunted room,54
We laughed around the Oak again,55
And saw the aloe bloom.56
A promise in the oriel won57
To crown my growing bliss,58
A drooping head, a circled waist,59
And such a binding kiss !60
O, happy time ! O, happy time !61
It never has its fellow,—62
The one green leaf that hangs among,63
So many sere and yellow.64
Before the Autumn spent his wrath65
Upon the Rectory vine,66
I claim’d the promise that she made,67
I went and whisper’d, “ mine :” ’68
May’s father trembled as he said,69
Take her, a trusting wife,70
And cherish one whose love has thrown71
A glory round my life.”72
Some days beside a lonely mere,73
(Lured by the waterfall),74
And then we settled at the Grange,75
For Alan took the Hall :76
How swift the lustres pass’d along,77
Sweet heart, with love and you,78
For if the sky was sometimes dark,79
There came a break of blue.80
And ever, as the year winds round,81
And brings the longest day,82
We gather at the Forest Oak,83
Where first I met my May ;84
Look, Alan’s boy and our maybud85
Are coming down the “ ride,”’86
Perhaps before another June87
There ’1 l be another bride.88