The Fatal Arrow

MY father had a fair-haired harvester ; —
I gleaned behind him in the barley-land ;
And there he put a red rose in my hand :
O cruel, killing leaves those rose-leaves were !
He sung to me a little lovelorn lay,
Learned of some bird ; and while his sickle swept
Athwart the shining stalks, my wild heart kept
Beating the tune up with him all the way.
One time we rested by a limpid stream,
O’er which the loose-tongued willows whispered low ;
Ah blessed hour ! so long and long ago,
It cometh back upon rae like a dream.
And there he told me, blushing soft — ah me !—
Of one that he could love, — so young, so fair,
Like mine the color of her eyes and hair :
O foolish heart ! I thought that I was she !
Full flowed his manly beard ; his eyes so brown
Made sweet confession with their tender look ;
A thousand times I kissed him in the brook,
Across the flowers, — with bashful eyelids down.
And even yet I cannot hear the stir
Of willows by a water but I stop,
And down the warm waves all their length I drop
My empty arms, to find my harvester.
In all his speech there was no word to mend ;
Whate’er he said, or right or wrong, was best,
Until at last an arrow pierced my breast,
Tipt with a fatal point, — he called me friend !
Still next my heart the fading rose I wore,
But all so sad ; full well I knew, God wot,
That I had been in love and he had not,
And in the barley-field I gleaned no more.