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The Confession
by [?]


How shall a maid make answer to a man
Who summons her, by love’s supreme decree,
To open her whole heart, that he may see
The intricate strange ways that love began.
So many streams from that great fountain ran
To feed the river that now rushes free,
So deep the heart, so full of mystery;
How shall a maid make answer to a man?

If I turn back each leaflet of my heart,
And let your eyes scan all the records there,
Of dreams of love that came before I KNEW,
Though in those dreams you had no place or part,
Yet, know that each emotion was a stair
Which led my ripening womanhood to YOU.


Nay, I was not insensate till you came;
I know man likes to think a woman clay,
Devoid of feeling till the warming ray
Sent from his heart lights her with sudden flame.
You asked for truth; I answer without shame;
My human heart pulsed blood by night and day,
And I believed that Love had come my way
Before he conquered with your face and name.

I do not know when first I felt this fire
That lends such lustre to my hopes and fears,
And burns a pathway to you with each thought.
I think in that great hour when God’s desire
For worlds to love flung forth a million spheres,
This miracle of love in me was wrought.

An open door, a moonlit sky,
A child-like maid with musing eye,
A manly footstep passing by.

Light as a dewdrop falls from space
Upon a rosebud’s folded grace,
A kiss fell on her girlish face.

“Good-night, good-bye,” and he was gone.
And so was childhood; it was dawn
In that young heart the moon shone on.

His name? his face? dim memories;
I only know in that first kiss
Was prophesied this later bliss.

The dreams within my bosom grew;
Nay, grieve not that my tale is true,
Since all those dreams led straight to you.

One time when Autumn donned her robes of splendour
And rustled down the year’s receding track,
As I passed dreaming by, a voice all tender
Haled me with youth’s soft call to linger back.
I turned and listened to a golden story!
A wondrous tale, half human, half divine–
A page from bright September’s book of glory,
To memorise and make forever mine.
Strange argosies from passion’s unknown oceans
Cruised down my veins, a vague elusive fleet,
With foreign cargoes of unnamed emotions,
While wafts of song blew shoreward, dim and sweet,
And sleeping still (because unwaked by you)
I dreamed and dreamed, and thought my visions true.
I woke when all the crimson colour faded
And wanton Autumn’s lips and cheeks were pale;
And when the sorrowing year had slowly waded,
With failing footsteps, through the snow-filled vale.
I woke and knew the glamour of a season
Had lent illusive lustre to a dream,
And looking in the clear calm eyes of Reason,
I smiled and said, “Farewell to things that seem.”
‘Twas but a red leaf from a lush September
The wind of dreams across my pathway blew,
But oh! my love! the whole round year remember,
With all its seasons I bestow on you.
The red leaf perished in the first cold blast
The full year’s harvests at your feet I cast.


Absolve me, prince; confession is all over.
But listen and take warning, oh! my lover.
You put to rout all dreams that may have been;
You won the day, but ’tis not all to win;