The Faithful Maiden

At the dawning of day on a morning in May,

When the birds through the forests were skipping so gay;

While crossing the churchyard of a parish remote,

In a district of Cambria, whose name I don't note:

I saw a fair maiden so rich in attire,

Second but to an angel her mien did appear;

Quick were her footsteps in tripping the sand,

And flowers resplendent were borne in her hand.

I fled to concealment that I might best learn

Her object and wish in a place so forlorn,

Without a companion--so early the hour--

For a region so gloomy thus leaving her bower.

Anon she advanced to a new tomb that lay

By the churchyard path, and there kneeling did stay,

While she planted the flowers with hands so clear,

And her looks were replete of meekness and fear.

The tears she would dry from eyelids fair

With a napkin so snow-white its hue and so rare;

And I heard a voice, that sadden'd my mind,

While it smote the breeze with words of this kind:--

"Here lieth in peace and quiet the one

I loved as dear as the soul of my own;

But death did us part to my endless woe,

Just when each to the other his hand would bestow.

Here resteth from turmoil, and sorrow to be,

The whole that in this world was precious to me;

Grow sweetly, ye flowers! and fair on his tomb,

Altho' you'll ne'er rival his beauty and bloom.

He erst received from me gifts that were more dear,

My hand for a promise--and a lock of my hair,

With total concurrence my portion to bear

Of his weal or his woe, whether cloudy or fair.

While sitting beside him how great my content,

In this place where my heart is evermore bent;

If I should e'er travel the wide globe around,

To this as their centre my thoughts would rebound.

Altho' from the earth thou dost welcome nor chide,

Nor smilest as once thou didst smile on thy bride;

And yet my beloved! 'tis comfort to me,

To sit but a moment so near to thee.

Thy eyes bright and tender my mind now doth see,

And remembers thy speech like the honey to me;

Thy grave I'll embrace though the whole world beheld,

That all may attest the love we once held."