Littell's Living Age/Volume 138/Issue 1789/One June Morning

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I’m thinking now of a time, my friend —
How many summers ago?
In the morning's dewy prime, my friend,
The June's young glow.
That morn when I and the girl that died,
Happy-hearted, tender-eyed,
Sat side by side, sat side by side,
And whispered low.

Oh, those young June days!
God never made aught so rare;
Glamor of silvern haze,
Fragrance in earth and air;
Each bird a fountain of praise,
Each flower a pray'r.
And those hearts of ours, those hearts of ours!
They were gladder than birds, they were sweeter than flowers;
God looked not down that summer day
On aught so tender and pure as they.

O'er her work my darling bent,
Lowly, lowly;
Waited while the minutes went,
Slowly, slowly.
Ah, she knew I loved her well —
Knew I had a tale to tell
In her pinky ear.
Why, ah why, are lovers shy,
When maidens wait with downcast eye,
And none is near?

Ah, yes, there was not a thing but knew:
The harebell tinkled its bell of blue,
And looked away;
But the saucy thrush on the bough that swung,
Boldly he stared, and archly sung,
And babbled the tale with wanton tongue
To every bird on the spray.

At length they came, a word or two —
Simple words —
Which none o'erheard but a bird or two —
Flowers and birds.
Slowly my darling raised her head;
Never a word the sweet lips said,
But the flower-cheeks blossomed a riper red,
And the lashes were bright and a-tremble with tears,
As two young souls in a long kiss met —
A kiss whose melody haunts me yet
Through all the years.

And then, from his nest hard by,
A lark upsprung,
And quivered into the sky,
And sung — and sung.
The noisiest babbler held his breath,
And the wind and the trees stood still as death,
To list to the rapture deep and strong
Of that skylark's song.

Ah me, that strain, that trancèd strain!
It shivered and died and shrilled again,
In yearning and bliss and exquisite pain;
It pierced my heart, it stung my brain,
It waked the tears like summer rain,
It made me long to die,
Her hand to the last held fond and fast,
And my rapt face turned to the sky.

I heard the lark sing yesterday;
From his grassy nest hard by,
He quivered away in the morning grey;
And lost himself in the sky.
He sang once more that self-same air;
But, ah, for the rapture, the vast despair,
The passionate pain! it had passed from there;
His heart was sere and dry.
He never will sing again, ah no!
As he sung in that summer of long ago.

For the world grows old, grows old, my friend,
And the Junes have turned so cold, my friend,
And there lingers a smell of mould, my friend,
And rotting leaves;
And he thinks of those days of gold, my friend,
And grieves, and grieves.

Ah, never again will he sing such a strain
Of passionate strength and glow,
As the strain he sung when we both were young —
How many summers ago?
As the strain he sung in the blithe Junetide,
When I and my darling sat side by side,
I and the dear little heart that died —
How many summers ago?
Ah, fifty summers ago, my friend,
Fifty summers ago!

Good Words.Frederick Langbridge.