Betrothed

I DID not think to love her. As we go
We pluck a hedge-rose blushing in its sheath,
Fresh, and at hand; and not the less we know
That where rich garden blossoms take the breath
With eddying sweets and wear a thousand hues
We shall be fain to linger and to choose.
And who indeed
Would pass the garden by to choose the weed,
The little wayside rose we hold and lose?

Fair; and so loving. With the young surprise
Of children who still newly understand
Their right and wrong out of their mother's eyes,
She watches for my thought. Her trustful hand
Creeps into mine and rests. Ah, little one,
Hadst thou loved less I had not been undone;
My wayside rose.
I love thee, sweet: some hopes have found their close
Ere yet their aim; some joys ceased unbegun.

I had not thought to love her. She is fair;
But I had pictured eyes which, meeting mine,
Should kindle something in me that was there
But waited Her arousing; I divine
A love, that was to be, past hence unborn,
The sun o'erclouded ere it rose at morn.
I love thee, yes:
Let hopes be dead which thou couldst never guess.
Sweet, could I let thy blossom drop unworn?

by Augusta Davies Webster

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