BETA

Two figures in a row boat floating on a lake. One figure lounges and the other leans over the side of the boat. They both gaze into the water. Plants and grasses are in the foreground on the banks of the mere. Trees, plants, indistinct animals, and flying birds are in the background. Full-page illustration.

By the Mere.


Down where trim meadows softly sweep,1
To view their shadows in the water,2
Where many meek-eyed daisies peep3
To welcome May—sad April’s daughter4
I linger, silent and alone,5
The evening shades around me stealing,6
Here by this well-known trysting stone,7
Dim secrets to myself revealing.8
At noon I left the weary town,9
All clad in holiday array ;10
In merry mood I’ve wandered down11
Where sweetly blow the flowers of May.12
At a quaint little country inn13
I ordered tea and drank my sherry ;14
Then memories stirring me within,15
At times I felt both sad and merry.16
While thus in philosophic mood17
The past and present slowly weaving,18
I mused on things of hoped-for good19
On things stored up for future grieving :20
On life and love, and foolish days21
When life was love, and love meant living :22
Oft smiling when, as through a haze,23
I pictured all my sad misgiving.24
You know those happy afternoons25
So long ago—so long ago26
The winds went singing pleasant tunes27
As we were wandering sweetly slow ;28
A clerk om eighty pounds a-year29
A noble-born and scornful beauty30
I full of purposes unclear31
You, eloquent on wealth and duty.32
Do you forget, across the Mere33
We rowed, and watched our own dear shadows34
Reflected in the water clear,35
With skies, and larks, and daisied meadows ?36
And when they moved as moved the stream,37
Behold, they seemed to twine together ;38
We whispering, as in a dream39
So we, through calm and stormy weather.40
Westward the glow began to wane,41
The happy moon rose high and higher ;42
Arm-linked we wandered down the lane,43
My heart filled with a secret fire.44
Here on this spot where now I stand45
We said “ Good-bye : ” with tender pity46
You went along—a merry band47
I caught the last train to the city.48
Poet-like I wrote some verses fine49
’Twere fitting I your charms should number50
Entranced, I deemed them half-divine51
Last week I found them ’ mid some lumber.52
No doubt you’re quite as fair as then,53
Your eyes as blue, your face as pretty,54
Although I do not care to pen55
Rose-coloured sonnets, wise and witty.56
We met again where shells and sands57
Await the glad embrace of ocean.58
We smiled and bowed; then, shaking hands,59
Passed on amid the crowd’s commotion ; —60
That’s years ago: in last week’s Times61
I saw your wedding duly noted.62
I told my wife, who read the rhymes,63
I wrote for you when “ your devoted.”64
Well, let us keep a noble name,65
Each in the place ordained by duty :66
I, slowly working up to fame ;67
You, as a famous country beauty ;68
You, free from envy, care, and strife,69
Smiling around each peasant’s cottage ;70
I, with my little ones and wife,71
Contented with our humble pottage.72