THE tale of the summer is ended,
The stage-coach has passed the old mill,
The roll of the wheels echoes softly,
Yet I by the gate linger still.
A farmer-lad, awkward and silent,
I seem only this—nothing more—
Since a beautiful woman went yonder,
Away by the blue mountain-door.
She seemed not to scorn my endeavor
To ward from her roughness and harm;
The tremulous, soft little fingers
Have tightened in trust on my arm.
The lilies I gathered through peril
She wore on her brow and her breast;
She, tiptoeing, leaned on my shoulder
To peer in the robin s new nest.
Whilst I, in my sober-hued fustian,
Wrapped soft foolish fancies and fears,
Or dreamed of a love-lighted cottage
To crown the devotion of years.
"A friend evermore," so it ended;
I count for "one more" on your list
Of the falcons that pull at the tether
Enwrapping your slender white wrist.
Ah, more than yourself goeth yonder—
Than the dream of a sweet summer lost—
Than the heart of a farmer-lad over
The edge of that summer-time tossed.
You take the boy s trust in fair woman
(Save his mother, God bless her for aye!);
You drag the knight's plume in the highway,
And leave it all tarnished to lie.
O beautiful, happy, lost summer!
How bitter is growing thy wine,
Distilled from the roses and lilies
That bury this lost love of mine!