Monday, August 06, 2007

The Maiden Wooed and Won

July, 1852
Godey's Lady's Book
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Vol XLV Page 44



A MAIDEN sat at eventide
Beside a flowing stream—
Majestic stream, with flowery banks,
And waves of golden gleam:
The maiden sure is In a dream,
Her hazle eyes so pensive beam!

So young, so fair, why sits she there
With melancholy mien!
So motionless, her shadow still
Within the waves is seen:
The dusky twilight soon will come—
The maiden then should seek her home.

The maiden dreameth on; and sad
The waves' low music-swells
Upon the ambient atmosphere
With softest cadence dwells:
Just sad enough the waves' refrain
To link her thoughts' harmonious chain.

The maiden dreameth on; and lo!
Upon the river rides
A boat of gorgeous golden prow—
How noiselessly it glides!
See! through the twilight's dark'ning fold,
How gleams that burnished prow of gold!

Hark! loud above the waves' refrain,
In right commanding tone,
Full tender, yet as proud as if
Demanding but its own,
A lordly voice the maiden hears
And these the words that reach her ears:—

"Thou maiden fair, of raven hair,
Of melancholy mien!
Within my dreams thine eyes' soft beams
Have long ago been seen:
I vowed It then to leave my home,
In quest of thee o'er earth to roam.

"I've kept my vow, roamed o'er the land,
And sailed upon the stream;
My cynosure the hazle-beam
Years since I gazed on in a dream:
Oh! sail with me towards the sea,
Where wealth and honor wait for thee

"Where broad baronial lands extend
Beneath a peaceful sky,
My palace rears its marble wails
In grand serenity:
Within the hail my slaves await
Thee, maiden, thee to share my state.

"Wilt come? If thou wilt be my bride,
Upon my turrets gray
The earliest sun will shine, and e'er
The softest moonbeams lay:
A word, a sign, will e'er command
All that thy slightest wants demand."

"It may not be," the maiden said;
"Sail on unto the main!
Not wealth, not power, I crave for dower,
But heart for heart again.
Float, golden boat, unto the sea:
And leave me portionless, but free!"

The maiden dreameth on; again
Mute, motionless is she;
Again the waves' low music swells,
And soothes her reverie:
Upon her ear sweet accents fell—
Her guardian-angel murmured "Well!"

The maiden dreameth on; and lo
Upon the river rides
A boat, whose keel the waters kiss—
How gracefully it glides!
Although it boasts not prow of gold,
Its course how stately doth it hold!

Hark! chiming with the waves' refrain,
A voice, as low and sweet
As music's tone, steals gently on,
For ear of maiden meet:
Those wooing words of softest spell
Her heart within will ever dwell.

"Thou maiden fair, of raven hair,
Of melancholy mien!
Canst tell me why the des'late swan,
On lake of sil'vry sheen,
Though limpid waters lave his breast,
Will lowly droop his pensive crest?

"Thou maiden fair, of raven hair,
Of melancholy mien!
Canst tell me why the dove doth mourn
In mead of brightest green?
Why plaintive song, the woods among,
The lonely bird doth e'er prolong?

"List, maid! the mystery I solve
By art that love believes:
The dove, upon the withered bough,
For absent loved one grieves.
Apart they mourn in lonesome grove—
Together live, together love.

"The swan upon the silver lake
His wand'ring mate doth moan;
His shadow is no company—
His shadow makes him lone.
Shall I, while gliding down this stream,
Behold a single shadow gleam?

"See! one by one bright stars appear
T' attest my solemn vow:
I swear always to cherish pure
The love I offer now:
Oh! sail with me towards the sea—
A loving heart awaits but thee.

"Our souls will yield us sigh for sigh,
While sailing to the sea!
Oar shadows, floating on with us,
Shall keep fond company:
In storm or calm, our hope is love—
Our trust is in our God above."

The boat glides down the stream of Life,
Soft downward to the main;
The waves' low music swells aloud
In tuneful nuptial strain.
Two souls there love, two shadows gleam:
God guide the boat safe down the stream!