Why turn from me thus with such petulant pride,
When I ask thee, sweet Edith, to be my bride;
When I offer the gift of heart fond and true,
And with loyalty seek thy young love to woo?
With patience I’ve waited from week unto week,
And at length I must openly, candidly speak.
But why dost thou watch me in doubting surprise,
Why thus dost thou raise thy dark, deep, melting eyes?
Can’st thou wonder I love thee, when for the last year
We have whispered and flirted—told each hope and fear;
When I’ve lavished on thee presents costly and gay,
And kissed thy fair hands at least six times each day?
What! Do I hear right? So those long sunny hours
Spent wand’ring in woods or whispering in bowers,
Our love-making ardent in prose and in rhyme,
Was just only a method of passing the time!
A harmless flirtation—the fashion just now,
To be closed, by a smile, or a jest, or a bow!
Ah, believe me, fair Edith, with me ’twas not so,
And I would I had known this but six months ago;
I would not have wasted on false, luring smiles,
On graces coquettish and cold, studied wiles,
True love that would give thee a life for thy life,
And guarded and prized thee, a fond, worshipped wife.
Oh I thou’rt pleased now to whisper my manners are good,
And my smiles such as maiden’s heart rarely withstood,
My age just the thing—nor too young nor too old—
My character faultless, naught lacking but gold,
And to-day might I claim e’en thy beauty so rare
If good Uncle John would but make me his heir.
Many thanks, my best Edith! I now understand
For what thou art willing, to barter thy hand:
A palace-like mansion with front of brown stone,
In some splendid quarter to fashion well known,
Sèvres china, conservatory, furniture rare,
Unlimited pin-money, phaeton and pair.
It is well, gentle lady! The price is not high
With a figure like thine, such a hand, such an eye,
Most brilliant accomplishments, statuesque face,
Manners, carriage distingué and queenlike in grace,—
Nothing wanting whatever, save only a heart,
But, instead, double portions of cunning and art.
Ah! well for me, lady, I have learned in good time
To save myself misery—you, sordid crime.
I will garner the love that so lately was thine
For one who can give me a love true as mine;
But learn ere we part, Edith, peerless and fair,
Uncle John has just died and has left me his heir!