He waited at the trysting place,
   While she tripped o'er the meadows,
A girlish creature full of grace,
   Whose step dispelled the shadows.
The earth lay in the arms of June,
   She said, "All life is beauty;
The world is set in perfect tune;
   To live and love is duty."

Her lover called her from the glade;
   She loitered on unheeding,
So used to love, the tyrant maid
   Held lightly lovers' pleading.
"The days are long and sweet," she laughed,
   "Love only fills one measure;
I'll drink of every other draught,
   And taste of love at pleasure."

She gazed across the wintry way,
   The trysting place was lonely,
She thought, "How I would fly to-day,
   If he were waiting only."
The earth lay clasped in Winter's hold,
   She said, "The world is dreary,
My life is very bleak and cold,
   My heart is very weary."

The voice that called her from the glade,
   No more did echoes waken,
And losing love, the saddened maid,
   Prized highly what was taken.
"The days are long and lone," she sighed,
   "And pain fills every measure,
In vain all all other joys I've tried,
   Love lost, earth holds no pleasure."

Then leaning with her face bowed on her knees,
   She sobbed and sighed out lonely words like these:

"If he could know how I am sitting, lonely,
   Shunning all others since I have not him;
If he could know my heart enshrines one only,
   For whom my longing eyes are ofttimes dim,
He would come back across the weary space,
   Come with the olden lovelight on his face.

If he could know how I repent in sorrow,
   The idle words that drove him from my side,
Though leagues away, he would come back to-morrow,
   And all my sad life would be glorified.
If he could know how much I long to see
   His face again, he would return to me.

If he could know all other love that's proffered,
   I turn from, deaf to every honeyed vow,
If he could know the tender love he offered,
   My heart starves for, and is anhungered now,
He would come back again, he would forgive,
And I once more should smile, rejoice, and live.

If he could know how more and more I miss him,
   And how my spirit daily droops and grieves,
Could know how much I long to clasp and kiss him
   With the old fervor of those summer eves,
He would come back and bring the Long Ago.
Alas! he comes not, for he does not know!"

Maurine by Ella Wheeler
Milwaukee: Cramer, Aikens & Cramer, 1876.

Back to Poem Index