‘O He’s suffering – maybe dying – and I not there to aid,
And smooth his bed and whisper to him! Can I nohow go?
Only the nurse’s brief twelve words thus hurriedly conveyed,
As by stealth, to let me know.
‘He was the best and brightest! – candour shone upon his brow,
And I shall never meet again a soldier such as he,
And I loved him ere I knew it, and perhaps he’s sinking now,
Far, far removed from me!’
– The yachts ride mute at anchor and the fulling moon is fair,
And the giddy folk are strutting up and down the smooth parade,
And in her wild distraction she seems not to be aware
That she lives no more a maid,
But has vowed and wived herself to one who blessed the ground she trod
To and from his scene of ministry, and thought her history known
In its last particular to him – aye, almost as to God,
And believed her quite his own.
So great her absentmindedness she droops as in a swoon,
And a movement of aversion mars her recent spousal grace,
And in silence we two sit here in our waning honeymoon
At this idle watering-place….
What now I see before me is a long lane overhung
With lovelessness, and stretching from the present to the grave.
And I would I were away from this, with friends I knew when young,
Ere a woman held me slave.