Bohemian legends and other poems/The Bride of Heaven

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THE BRIDE OF HEAVEN.

 

A BOHEMIAN BALLAD.

 

When I used to go and see thee,
Stand beneath thy window sill,
See, I was quite sure, beloved one,
That we were one heart, one will.
Never did I think, beloved one,
We must part, I loving still.

And the last time that I saw thee
Weaving a fair myrtle wreath,
I sat watching, never thinking
Why you did not bind the leaf.
Now I pray thee, loved one, tell me,
Why unfinished is the wreath?

I was thinking, thinking sadly—
Thinking as I think to-day,
That we cannot wed, beloved one,
That our farewell we must say;
So I left the wreath unfinished,
Left unfinished to this day.

They would force me to be married
To a youth I cannot love;
They would drag me to the altar,
Sacrifice me like a dove;
They would force me to be wedded
To a lad I cannot love.

They would force me to be married,
Though I loath his very sight.
Go get ready for the wedding—
It will be a merry sight.
Go prepare the wedding banquet,
While I dress my hair aright.

Yes, they shall prepare the wedding,
In the convent far away.
Come, oh bridesmaids, cut my long locks,
Let me sup with you to-day.
Gladly in your silent convent,
I will give my hand away.

Come and see me, oh beloved—
Come and hear me when I sing,
Till that fatal day, beloved,
When the black robe they will fling
Round about my weary shoulders—
On my hand the wedding ring.

They will take my white dress from me,
Dress me in the robe of pain;
And the image of my bridegroom
Now must be my only gain.
Vanish from my sight, beloved one,
We must never meet again.

The crucifix is by my side,
The rosary in my hand,
I raise my weary eyes to Him,
Lord of that heavenly band.
Oh, glorious bridegroom, I am yours,
The wedding ring is on my hand.

Beyond the convent’s silent walls,
Oh, never more shall I stray,
No earthly voice shall haunt me more,
When I humbly kneel to pray.
Heaven’s love will fill my broken heart,
The world will have passed away.

Avaunt from me, beloved of earth,
My bridegroom is in the sky;
Depart from me, betrothed on earth,
To Heaven I fain would fly;
Oh, holy bridegroom, fill my heart
With your image till I die.

Oh, vain indeed, the love of earth,
To still my poor heart’s aching.
Come to me, oh, thou crucificed,
And keep my heart from breaking;
Oh, take me, Lord, unto Thyself,
I, my vain life forsaking.”

She knelt before the crucifix,
She called on her lover high.
Oh, loved of God, oh, bridegroom mine,
Be my defense till I die.
My faint heart yearns to see thy face,
And thy glory up on high.”

The heavenly bridegroom heard her voice,
He knew, her heart was broken.
He said, “Thy prayer is heard, my bride,
This is the promised token.”
A rapture came within her heart—
Men said she died heartbroken.