In a garden where the may made the straggling fences gay
And the roses cream and scarlet shed their petals on the breeze
Your maiden aunts and I, and you, demure and shy,
Played a sober game of croquet underneath the spreading trees.
Just beyond the garden wall we could hear the merry call
Of the tennis players yonder, flitting gaily in the sun,
But we recked not of their glee, for all too content were we,
And we weren’t flushed and heated when our quiet game was done.
What a picture sweet you made! As you rested in the shade,
Listening to my eager chatter with a glance of grave surprise;
Was it nectar, love, or tea that your white hands poured for me
In the dainty Wedgewood tea-cups that were bluer than your eyes?
Love I know not; this I know, that we parted years ago –
That our paths lie far asunder in the giddy whirl of life,
And the tender vows we made, underneath the spreading shade,
Are a memory half forgotten ‘mid the city’s toil and strife.
But when wearied by its din, by its ceaseless strife and sin,
My thoughts will wander backwards at the close of some long day,
Once again I see you stand with your mallet in your hand,
‘Twixt a nodding scarlet rose-bush and a hedge of snowy may.
And the scent of mignonette comes to haunt and thrill me yet
While your blue eyes light the distance with a half reproachful smile;
Love, it is the world sad way, just to worship for a day-
And I doubt if you remember, after all this weary while.