James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

My Bride That Is To Be


O soul of mine, look out and see
My bride, my bride that is to be!
Reach out with mad, impatient hands,
And draw aside futurity
As one might draw a veil aside--
And so unveil her where she stands
Madonna-like and glorified--
The queen of undiscovered lands
Of love, to where she beckons me--
My bride--my bride that is to be.

The shadow of a willow-tree
That wavers on a garden-wall
In summertime may never fall
In attitude as gracefully
As my fair bride that is to be;--
Nor ever Autumn's leaves of brown
As lightly flutter to the lawn
As fall her fairy-feet upon
The path of love she loiters down.--
O'er drops of dew she walks, and yet
Not one may stain her sandal wet--
Aye, she might _dance_ upon the way
Nor crush a single drop to spray,
So airy-like she seems to me,--
My bride, my bride that is to be.

I know not if her eyes are light
As summer skies or dark as night,--
I only know that they are dim
With mystery: In vain I peer
To make their hidden meaning clear,
While o'er their surface, like a tear
That ripples to the silken brim,
A look of longing seems to swim
All worn and wearylike to me;
And then, as suddenly, my sight
Is blinded with a smile so bright,
Through folded lids I still may see
My bride, my bride that is to be.

Her face is like a night of June
Upon whose brow the crescent-moon
Hangs pendant in a diadem
Of stars, with envy lighting them.--
And, like a wild cascade, her hair
Floods neck and shoulder, arm and wrist,
Till only through a gleaming mist
I seem to see a siren there,
With lips of love and melody
And open arms and heaving breast
Wherein I fling myself to rest,
The while my heart cries hopelessly
For my fair bride that is to be....

Nay, foolish heart and blinded eyes!
My bride hath need of no disguise.--
But, rather, let her come to me
In such a form as bent above
My pillow when in infancy
I knew not anything but love.--
O let her come from out the lands
Of Womanhood--not fairy isles,--
And let her come with Woman's hands
And Woman's eyes of tears and smiles,--
With Woman's hopefulness and grace
Of patience lighting up her face:
And let her diadem be wrought
Of kindly deed and prayerful thought,
That ever over all distress
May beam the light of cheerfulness.--
And let her feet be brave to fare
The labyrinths of doubt and care,
That, following, my own may find
The path to Heaven God designed.--
O let her come like this to me--
My bride--my bride that is to be.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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