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Margaret’s Bridal Eve
by [?]


I

The old grey mother she thrummed on her knee:
There is a rose that’s ready;
And which of the handsome young men shall it be?
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

My daughter, come hither, come hither to me:
There is a rose that’s ready;
Come, point me your finger on him that you see:
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

O mother, my mother, it never can be:
There is a rose that’s ready;
For I shall bring shame on the man marries me:
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

Now let your tongue be deep as the sea:
There is a rose that’s ready;
And the man’ll jump for you, right briskly will he:
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

Tall Margaret wept bitterly:
There is a rose that’s ready;
And as her parent bade did she:
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

O the handsome young man dropped down on his knee:
There is a rose that’s ready;
Pale Margaret gave him her hand, woe’s me!
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

II

O mother, my mother, this thing I must say:
There is a rose in the garden;
Ere he lies on the breast where that other lay:
And the bird sings over the roses.

Now, folly, my daughter, for men are men:
There is a rose in the garden;
You marry them blindfold, I tell you again:
And the bird sings over the roses.

O mother, but when he kisses me!
There is a rose in the garden;
My child, ’tis which shall sweetest be!
And the bird sings over the roses.

O mother, but when I awake in the morn!
There is a rose in the garden;
My child, you are his, and the ring is worn:
And the bird sings over the roses.

Tall Margaret sighed and loosened a tress:
There is a rose in the garden;
Poor comfort she had of her comeliness
And the bird sings over the roses.

My mother will sink if this thing be said:
There is a rose in the garden;
That my first betrothed came thrice to my bed;
And the bird sings over the roses.

He died on my shoulder the third cold night:
There is a rose in the garden;
I dragged his body all through the moonlight:
And the bird sings over the roses.

But when I came by my father’s door:
There is a rose in the garden;
I fell in a lump on the stiff dead floor:
And the bird sings over the roses.

O neither to heaven, nor yet to hell:
There is a rose in the garden;
Could I follow the lover I loved so well!
And the bird sings over the roses.

III

The bridesmaids slept in their chambers apart:
There is a rose that’s ready;
Tall Margaret walked with her thumping heart:
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

The frill of her nightgown below the left breast:
There is a rose that’s ready;
Had fall’n like a cloud of the moonlighted West:
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

But where the West-cloud breaks to a star:
There is a rose that’s ready;
Pale Margaret’s breast showed a winding scar:
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

O few are the brides with such a sign!
There is a rose that’s ready;
Though I went mad the fault was mine:
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.

I must speak to him under this roof to-night:
There is a rose that’s ready;
I shall burn to death if I speak in the light:
There’s a rose that’s ready for clipping.