They spoke in whispers ; it was not
Because a crowd was nigh,
For all alone they breathed each thought
Beneath a moonlit sky.
That stilly hour but nursed the flame
That o'er their spirits swept;
And Nature, hallowed by the same,
A sacred silence kept.

They spoke in whispers; was't because
They feared the birds might hear ?
Or that the light-winged breeze might pause
And bend a listening ear?
Or that the sweet wild-flowers, which stood
So near, in listening crowds,
Might snatch their secret, ―that the dew
Might tell it to the clouds ?

Or did they fear the fair young moon
Might ope her silver bars,
To let the echo of each word
Glide upward to the stars ?
Or that the ripples of the stream
That kissed that quiet shore
Might catch their vows, and to the waves
Repeat the story o'er?

Or did they dream the heavens would speak
Through countless starry eyes,
Bent downward on each love-lit cheek
In tremulous surprise ?
I cannot tell, but only know
That earth and air and sky
Seemed conscious of the rapturous thrill
That marked each fond reply.

Soft grew their whispers ; gently moved
Her crimson lips apart,
As if to drink the waves of love
That rippled from his heart.
Then nearer stole the envious breeze,
To share that whispered tone ;
Too late ―'twas hushed ―their souls had learned
A language all their own.

More verses by Kate Harrington