It was on a lovely evening
In the merry month of June,
That we sailed upon the waters clear,
Beneath the rising moon.
We had often sat together thus,
Young Lawrence Grey and I,
And watched the Night-Queen rolling
Through her kingdom in the sky.
He spoke as he was wont to speak,
In whispers soft and low,
Of moonlit skies and slumbering flowers,
And wavelets' murmuring flow.
In vain I listened for the words
I longed to hear him say ;
He breathed them not, —my heart was sad,—
I loved young Lawrence Grey.
Long had I known him ; oft had sat
Within the leafy grove,
And hoped to hear him whisper low
An earnest tale of love ;
Or stood, expectant, by his side,
At twilight's stilly hour,
And felt across my senses steal
A spell of wondrous power.
But Hope, the siren, from my heart
Had well-nigh ta'en her flight ;
And dark despair sat brooding there
Upon that summer's night.
And when, at last, a sacred hush
Fell upon wood and stream,
My thoughts were busy with the past,
While Lawrence seemed to dream.
I touched the water with my hand,
And tried to catch each gem
That, with the moonbeams, formed a gay,
A sparkling diadem.
A sudden fancy seized my brain,—
' Suspense is worse than death;
'Twill test his love to run the risk,—
I can but lose my breath.'
One parting glance was all I gave ;
But 'he beheld me not,
So closely were his senses bound
By deep, unfathomed thought.
' Forgive me, Heaven !' I softly said ;
' Now love or death must win !'
And, with the words, the skiff upset,
And I — I tumbled in.
One moment dark dismay became
A tenant of my breast ;
Another, every doubt gave way,—
All fear was lulled to rest.
A strong arm bore me to the shore,
Upheld my sinking form,
While tear-drops fell upon my cheeks
All fresh and bright and warm.
' Gone, almost gone !' he wildly said,
And smoothed my dripping hair ;
Then pressed his lips upon my own,
And left love's signet there.
A 'wildering bliss, an untold joy,
Across my being stole ;
And eyelids, that till then were closed,
No longer brooked control.
'Lawrence !' I slowly, feebly said, —
A flush suffused his cheek ;
Then, quick, he told me all his lips
Had long refused to speak:
He said he worshiped —he adored ;
If I would be his own,
Henceforth his aim in life should be
My happiness alone.
What answered I? Ask of the moon,
That now, all radiant, shone ;
Or of the still, pale stars beyond,
That tremblingly looked on.
I've tried a thousand times to think,
But tried, alas! in vain ;
Those words escaped from Memory's chart,
And ne'er came back again.
'Twas not till many years had fled
With many joys away,
And I had long been known to friends
As 'sober Nelly Grey,'
That I could venture to confess,
To him who used to dream,
That it was not an accident—
My falling in'the stream.
He scarce believed me when I said
I made the skiff capsize ;
Or that I heard the words he spoke
Before I oped my eyes.
He smiled, though, when he heard me say,
' If I were young once more,
And loved and doubted, I would act—
Just as I did before. ' '
It was on a lovely evening