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The Dreamers And Other Poems

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The gypsies passed her little gate—She stopped her wheel to see,—A brown-faced pair who walked the road,Free as the wind is free;And suddenly her tidy roomA prison seemed to be.Her shining plates against the walls,Her sunlit, sanded floor,The brass-bound wedding chest that heldHer linen's snowy store,The very wheel whose humming died,—Seemed only chains she bore.She watched the foot-free gypsies pass;She never knew or guessedThe wistful dream that drew them close—The longing in each breastSome day to know a home like hers,Wherein their hearts might rest.


IWhite rose-leaves in my hands,I toss you all away;The winds shall blow you through the worldTo seek my wedding day.Or East you go, or West you goAnd fall on land or sea,Find the one that I love bestAnd bring him here to me.And if he finds me spinning'Tis short I'll break my thread;And if he finds me dancingI'll dance with him instead;If he finds me at the Mass—(Ah, let this not be,Lest I forget my sweetest saintThe while he kneels by me!)IIMy lilies are like nuns in whiteThat guard me well all day,But the red, red rose that near them growsIs wiser far than they.Oh, red rose, wise rose,Keep my secret well;I kiss you twice, I kiss you thriceTo pray you not to tell.My lilies sleep beneath the moon,But wide awake are you,And you have heard a certain wordAnd seen a dream come true.Oh, red rose, wise rose,Silence for my sake,Nor drop to-night a petal lightLest my white lilies wake.IIIWill the garden never forgetThat it whispers over and over,"Where is your lover, Nanette?Where is your lover—your lover?"Oh, roses I helped to grow,Oh, lily and mignonette,Must you always question me so,"Where is your lover, Nanette?"Since you looked on my joy one day,Is my grief then a lesser thing?Have you only this to sayWhen I pray you for comforting?Now that I walk aloneHere where our hands were met,Must you whisper me every one,"Where is your lover, Nanette?"I have mourned with you year and year,When the Autumn has left you bare,And now that my heart is sereDoes not one of your roses care?Oh, help me forget—forget,Nor question over and over,"Where is your lover, Nanette?Where is your lover—your lover?"


I lost Young Love so long agoI had forgot him quite,Until a little lass and ladWent by my door to-night.Ah, hand in hand, but not alone,They passed my open door,For with them walked that other oneWho paused here Mays before.And I, who had forgotten long,Knew suddenly the graceOf one who in an empty landBeholds a kinsman's face.Oh, Young Love, gone these many years,'Twas you came back to-night,And laid your hand on my two eyesThat they might see aright,And took my listless hand in yours(Your hands without a stain),And touched me on my tired heartThat it might beat again.


"Black Sheep, Black Sheep,Have you any wool?""That I have, my Master,Three bags full."One is for the mother who prays for me at night—A gift of broken promises to count by candle-light.One is for the tried friend who raised me when I fell—A gift of weakling's tinsel oaths that strew the path to hell.And one is for the true love—the heaviest of all—That holds the pieces of a faith a careless hand let fall.Black Sheep, Black Sheep,Have you ought to say?A word to each, my Master,Ere I go my way.A word unto my mother to bid her think o' meOnly as a little lad playing at her knee.A word unto my tried friend to bid him see againTwo laughing lads in Springtime a-racing down the glen....