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The Lady Maud
by [?]


I sit in the cloud and the darkness
Where I lost you, peerless one;
Your bright face shines upon fairer lands,
Like the dawning of the sun,
And what to you is the rustic youth,
You sometimes smiled upon.

You have roamed through mighty cities,
By the Orient’s gleaming sea,
Down the glittering streets of Venice,
And soft-skied Araby:
Life to you has been an anthem,
But a solemn dirge to me.

For everywhere, by Rome’s bright hills,
Or by the silvery Rhine,
You win all hearts to you, where’er
Your glancing tresses shine;
But, darling, the love of the many,
Is not a love like mine.

Last night I heard your voice in my dreams,
I woke with a joyous thrill
To hear but the half-awakened birds,
For the dark dawn lingered still,
And the lonesome sound of the waters,
At the foot of Carey’s hill.

Oh the pines are dark on Carey’s hill,
And the waters are black below,
But they shone like waves of jasper
Upon one day I know,
The day I bore you out of the stream,
With your face as white as snow.

You lay like a little lamb in my arms,
So frail a thing, so weak,
And my coward lips said burning words
They never had dared to speak
If they had not felt the chill of your brow,
And the marble of your cheek.

Life had been but a bitter gift,
That I fain would have thrown away,
But I could have thanked my God on my knees,
For giving me life that day,
As I took you, lying so helpless,
From the gates of death away.

How your noble kinsmen laughed and wept
O’er their treasure snatched from the flood,
And your white-faced brother brought me gold–
You loved him, or I could
Have obeyed the fiend that told me
To curse him where he stood.

Gold! Oh, darling, they had no need
Such insults to repeat;
I knew the Heaven was above the earth,
I knew, I knew, my sweet,
I was not worthy to touch the shoes
That covered your dainty feet.

I knew as you laid your hand in mine,
So kind as I turned away,
That we were severed as wide apart,
That hour, as we are to-day,
And you in your stately English home,
So far, so far away.

That soft white hand you laid in mine
With a smile as I turned to go,
Oh, Lady Maud, I marvel
If you ever stoop so low,
As to wonder what those tears meant,
That glittered on its snow.

But I know if you had dreamed the truth
Your beautiful dark brown eyes
Would only have grown more gentle,
With a sorrowful surprise;
For a nobler and a kinder heart
Ne’er beat beneath the skies.

You never meant to give me pain,
But oh, ’twas a cruel good,
I so low in the world’s esteem,
You of such noble blood,
That you stooped to as gentle words and deeds,
As ever an angel could.

I blessed you for your brightness
When you came unto our shore,
For the dull earth caught a beauty
It never had before;
But you left a lonesome shadow,
That will lie there evermore.

How proud the good ship bore you
Adown the golden bay,
The sun’s last light upon its sails–
I stood there mournfully;
For I know it left the darkness–
Took the sunlight all away.