Sedition·com (mature content)
Poems by Christina G. Rossetti

«·AN APPLE GATHERING. · ECHO.·»

MAUDE CLARE.

Out of the church she followed them
  With a lofty step and mien:
His bride was like a village maid,
  Maude Clare was like a queen.

“Son Thomas,” his lady mother said,
  With smiles, almost with tears:
“May Nell and you but live as true
  As we have done for years;

“Your father thirty years ago
  Had just your tale to tell;
But he was not so pale as you,
  Nor I so pale as Nell.”

My lord was pale with inward strife,
  And Nell was pale with pride;
My lord gazed long on pale Maude Clare
  Or ever he kissed the bride.

“Lo, I have brought my gift, my lord,
  Have brought my gift,” she said:
“To bless the hearth, to bless the board,
  To bless the marriage-bed.

”Here’s my half of the golden chain
  You wore about your neck,
That day we waded ankle-deep
  For lilies in the beck:

“Here’s my half of the faded leaves
  We plucked from budding bough,
With feet amongst the lily-leaves,—
  The lilies are budding now.”

He strove to match her scorn with scorn,
  He faltered in his place:
“Lady,” he said,—“Maude Clare,” he said,—
  “Maude Clare”:–and hid his face.

She turned to Nell: “My Lady Nell,
  I have a gift for you;
Though, were it fruit, the bloom were gone,
  Or, were it flowers, the dew.

“Take my share of a fickle heart,
  Mine of a paltry love:
Take it or leave it as you will,
  I wash my hands thereof.”

“And what you leave,” said Nell, “I’ll take,
  And what you spurn, I’ll wear;
For he’s my lord for better and worse,
  And him I love, Maude Clare.

“Yea, though you’re taller by the head,
  More wise, and much more fair;
I’ll love him till he loves me best,
  Me best of all, Maude Clare.”

 



«·AN APPLE GATHERING. · ECHO.·»