The First Parting

YES ! I am off to-morrow morn !
Next week I sail for Indy !
And you ’ll be glad when I am gone, —
Say, sha’ n’t you be, Lucindy ? ”
A summer flower herself, the maid
Stood ’mid the sweet syringas,
A June pink in her hair’s smooth braid,
A rosebud in her fingers,
Plucked from the tall bush in the yard,
Whose white flowers waved above her;
And parting never seemed so hard
As just then, to her lover.
Her lip began to grieve ; the red
Upon her cheek grew paler.
“ It seems a strange choice, Tom,” she said,
“For you to be a sailor ;
“And when the wild, black clouds I see,
And when the nights are windy,
I — ” “ Bless your soul ! you ’ll pray for me ;
I know you will, Lucindy ! ”
The rosebud from her hand he took.
“ This flower,” he said, “ I ’ll save it,
And keep it pressed within a book,
Remembering who gave it.
“ I never cared, as women do,
For garden beds and posies,
But somehow — why, I never knew, —
I always loved white roses.
“They seem just made for weddin’s ; when
I come again from Indy,
My bride, you’ll wear white roses then ;
Come, wont you ? — say, Lucindy ! ”
A sudden flame upon her cheek,
Her eyes the quick tears filling,
The answer gave she would not speak,
Lest she might seem too willing.
For, “Tom,” she asked, “how can it be ?
Here, all my life, you’ve known me;
No word of love you’ve said to me,
No sign you’ve ever shown me.”
And he said, “ True, but though I hain’t,
My love, I’ve wished you knew it,
And tried to speak, and felt too faint
At heart to dare to do it ;
“ But when my mind was fixed to go
A sailor, out to Indy,
I said, ‘ I ’ll have a Yes or No.’
O say it’s Yes, Lucindy !”
“Yes, Tom ! it’s yes !” she whispered ; “when
I learned that you were going,
I found you had my heart ; till then
’T was yours without my knowing ! ”
Soft on her cheek fell, wet with dew,
A rose-leaf from above her ;
A warmer touch her red lip knew, —
The first kiss of her lover !
Though stilled the song and hushed the laugh,
And hot the tears are starting,
What joy, that life can give, is half
So sweet as love’s first parting ?
Marian Douglas.