Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

Maids In May


Three maids there were in meadow bright,
The eldest less then seven;
Their eyes were dancing with delight,
And innocent as Heaven.

Wild flowers they wound with tender glee,
Their cheeks with rapture rosy;
All radiant they smiled at me,
When I besought a posy.

She gave me a columbine,
And one a poppy brought me;
The tiniest, with eyes ashine,
A simple daisy sought me.

And as I went my sober way,
I heard their careless laughter;
Their hearts too happy with to-day
To care for what comes after.

. . . . . . .

That's long ago; they're gone, all three,
To walk amid the shadows;
Forgotten is their lyric glee
In still and sunny meadows.

For Columbine loved life too well,
And went adventure fairing;
And sank into the pit of hell,
And passed but little caring.
While Poppy was a poor man's wife,
And children had a-plenty;
And went, worn out with toil and strife
When she was five-and-twenty.

And Daisy died while yet a child,
As fragile blossoms perish,
When Winter winds are harsh and wild,
With none to shield and cherish.

Ah me! How fate is dark and dour
To little Children of the Poor.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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