All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/One Summer

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ONE SUMMER.


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!