A Lesson in a Picture

So it is whispered, here and there,
That you are rather pretty ? Well ?
(Here ’s matter for a bird of the air
To drop down from the dusk and tell.)
Let’s have no lights, my child. Somehow,
The shadow suits your blushes now.
The blonde young man who called to-day
(He only rang to leave a book? —
Yes, and a flower or two, I say!)
Was handsome, look you. Will you look?
You did not know his eyes were fine, —
You did not? Can you look in mine?
What is it in this picture here
That you should suddenly watch it so?
A maiden leaning, half in fear,
From her far casement; and, below,
In cap and plumes (or cap and bells!),
Some fairy tale her lover tells.
Suppose this lonesome night could be
Some night a thousand springs ago,
Dim round that tower; and you were she,
And your shy friend her lover (Oh!),
And I — her mother! And suppose
I knew just why she wore that rose.
Do you think I’d kiss my girl, and say,
“ Make haste to bid the wedding guest,
And make the wedding garment gay.
You could not find in East or West
So brave a bridegroom; I rejoice
That you have made so sweet a choice” ?
Or say, “ To look forever fair,
Just keep this turret-moonlight wound
About your face; stay in mid-air:
Rope-ladders lead one to the ground,
Where all things take the touch of tears,
And nothing lasts a thousand years”?
Sallie M. B. Piatt.