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How passion rose thro' circumstantial grades
Beyond all grades develop'd ? and indeed
1 had not staid so long to tell you all,
But while I mused came Memory with sad eyes,
Holding the folded annals of my youth ;
And while I mused, Love with knit brows went by,
And with a flying finger swept my lips,
And spake, “Be wise : not easily forgiven
Are those, who setting wide the doors, that bar
The secret bridal chambers of the heart,
Let in the day.” Here, then, my words have end.
Yet might I tell of meetings, of farewells—
Of that which came between, more sweet than each,
In whispers, like the whispers of the leaves
That tremble round a nightingale—in sighs
Which perfect Joy, perplex'd for utterance,
Stole from her sister Sorrow. Might I not tell
Of difference, reconcilement, pledges given,
And vows, where there was never need of vows,
And kisses, where the heart on one wild leap
Hung tranced from all pulsation, as above
The heavens between their fairy fleeces pale
Sow'd all their mystic gulfs with fleeting stars ;
Or while the balmy glooming, crescent-lit,
Spread the light haze along the river-shores,
And in the hollows; or as once we met
Unheedful, tho' beneath a whispering rain
Night slid down one long stream of sighing wind,
And in her bosom bore the baby, Sleep.
But this whole hour your eyes have been intent
On that veil'd picture—veil'd, for what it holds
May not be dwelt on by the common day.
This prelude has prepared thee. Raise thy soul ;
Make thine heart ready with thine eyes : the time
Is come to raise the veil.
Behold her there,
As I beheld her ere she knew my heart,
My first, last love ; the idol of my youth,
The darling of my manhood, and, alas !
Now the most blessed memory of mine age.
With farmer Allan at the farm abode
William and Dora William was his son,
And she his niece. He often look'd at them,
And often thought “I'll make them man and wife."
Now Dora felt her uncle's will in all,
And yearn’d towards William ; but the youth, because
He had been always with her in the house,
Thought not of Dora.
Then there came a day
When Allan call’d his son, and said, “My son :
I married late, but I would wish to see
My grandchild on my knees before I die :
And I have set my heart upon a match.
Now therefore look to Dora ; she is well
To look to; thrifty too beyond her age.
She is my brother's daughter : he and I
Had once hard words, and parted, and he died
In foreign lands ; but for his sake I bred
His daughter Dora : take her for your wife ;
For I have wish'd this marriage, night and day,
For many years.” But William answer'd short;
“I cannot marry Dora ; by my life,
I will not marry Dora." Then the old man
Was wroth, and doubled up his hands, and said :
“You will not, boy ! you dare to answer thus !
But in my time a father's word was law,
And so it shall be now for me. Look to it ;
Consider, William : take a month to think,
And let me have an answer to my wish;
Or, by the Lord that made me, you shall pack,
And never more darken my doors again.”
But William answer'd madly ; bit his lips,
And broke away. The more he look'd at her
The less he liked her; and his ways were harsh ;
But Dora bore them meekly. Then before
The month was out he left his father's house,
And hired himself to work within the fields ;
And half in love, half spite, he woo'd and wed
A labourer's daughter, Mary Morrison.
Then, when the bells were ringing, Allan callid
His niece and said : “My girl, I love you well ;
But if you speak with him that was my son,
Or change a word with her he calls his wife,
My home is none of yours. My will is law.”
And Dora promised, being meek. She thought,
“ It cannot be : my uncle's mind will change!
And days went on, and there was born a boy To William ; then distresses came on him ; And day by day he pass’d his father's gate, Heart-broken, and his father help'd him not. But Dora stored what little she could save, And sent it them by stealth, nor did they know Who sent it; till at last a fever seized On William, and in harvest time he died.
Then Dora went to Mary. Mary sat. And look’d with tears upon her boy, and thought Hard things of Dora. Dora came and said :
“I have obey'd my uncle until now,
And I have sinn'd, for it was all thru' me
This evil came on William at the first.
But, Mary, for the sake of him that's gone,
And for your sake, the woman that he chose,
And for this orphan, I am come to you :
You know there has not been for these five years
So full a harvest : let me take the boy,
And I will set him in my uncle's eye
Among the wheat ; that when his heart is glad
Of the full harvest, he may see the boy,
And bless him for the sake of him that's gone."
And Dora took the child, and went her way
Across the wheat, and sat upon a mound
That was unsown, where many poppies grew.
Far off the farmer came into the field