Thompson, Priscilla Jane
BEHOLD young Raphael coming back;
How long the time doth seem,
Since last he parted from the side
Of her, his sweetest dream.
And yet a fortnight scarce hath past,
Since last he left her side,
And saw those soft eyes fill with tears;
"His love, his joy, his pride.
And now he's coming back again;
A husband's place to hold;
He seeks communion with himself,
And saunters 'cross the wold.
With polished rifle on his arm,
And hunting coat of gray,
His Pilot trotting at his heel,
With joy he winds his way
Though Raphael is a marksman fair,
Of hunting over fond,
Ere yet, he lifteth not his gun,
To bring the good game down.
But now doth rouse he from his dream,
And cocks his trusty gun;
For he hath reached the willowed dell,
Where deer is wont to run.
The day is calm, soft breezes blow,
And all is still as dawn;
Upon the lake, among the rush,
Are floating, flocks of swan.
Then saith young Raphael, as he gaze
On rush, and willows 'round,
"The truant deer hath sought the cliffs,
And naught but swan I've found."
"I'll choose the whitest of the flock,"
Thus did young Raphael speak,11"As symbol of the pure young heart
Of her, whose hand I see."
And so, adown the dell he peers,
And through the rush he sees,
A mass of downy whiteness there,
Half hidden by the leaves,
He lifts his gun, he takes good aim,
And forward Pilot start:
Triumphantly he lowers his piece;
He knows he've hit the mark.
Oh luckless youth, retrace thy steps!
The sight that waits thine eyes,
Will turn thy ebon locks to snow;
And waste thy life with sights.
Oh deadly bullet, why so true?
What havoc thou hast wrought,
To turn into the deepest grief,
'Young Raphael's noblest thought!
For there, half hidden by the rush,
Doth lie a heap like snow;
Poor Pilot crouch and lick the face,
Of one full well he know.
And now young Raphael's coming up;
He push the rush aside,
And there upon the sward behold,
His game--his own loved bride.
One look reveals his waiting love,
All clad in snowy white;
Her angel, face, her bosom red--
He groans--and all is night.
Oh young, heart-broken, weary youth!
God chasteneth whom he love:
Thy thoughts were ever with thy bridge;
They never soared above.
But since the one thou lovest so well,
Hast flown to realms of rest,13Thy whole soul turneth to thy God,
And yearneth for the blest.
And when thy keenest grief is past,
And hushed thy deepest sighs,
Thou' it deem her but an angel sent,
To lure thee to the skies.