The Red School-House

I PASSED it yesterday again,
The school-house by the river,
Where you and I were children, Jane,
And used to glow and shiver,
In heats of June, December’s frost,
And where, in rainy weather,
The swollen road-side brook we crossed
So many times together.
I felt the trickle of the rain
From your wet ringlets dripping ;
1 caught your blue eye's twinkle, Jane,
When we were nearly slipping;
And thought, while you in fear and glee
Were clinging to my shoulder,
"O, will she trust herself to me,
When we are ten years older ? ”
For I was full of visions vain,
The boy’s romantic hunger:
You were the whole school’s darling, Jane,
And many summers younger.
Your head a cherub’s used to look,
With sunbeams on it lying,
Bent downward to your spelling-book,
For long and hard words prying.
The mountains through the window-pane
Showered over you their glory :
The awkward farm-boy loved you, Jane,—
You know the old, old story !
I never watch the sunset now
Upon those misty ranges,
But your bright lips and cheek and brow
Gleam out from all its changes.
I wonder if you see that chain
On memory’s dim horizon.
There’s not a lovelier picture, Jane,
To rest even your sweet eves on.
The Haystacks each an airy tent;
The Notch a gate of splendor;
And river, sky, and mountain blent
In twilight radiance tender.
I wonder — with a flitting pain —
If thoughts of me, returning,
Are mingled with the mountains, Jane :
I stifle down that yearning.
A rich man’s wife, on you no claim
Have I, lost dreams to rally:
Yet Pemigewasset sings your name
Along its winding valley; —
And once I hoped that for us twain
Might fall one calm life-closing ;
That Campton Hills might guard us, Jane,
In one green grave reposing.
They say the old man’s heart is rock:
You never thought so, never!
And, loving you alone, I lock
The school-house door forever.