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Alice Cary

(1820-1871 / USA)

Rhyme of my Playmate


Alas! his praise I cannot write,
Nor paint him true for other eyes;
For only in love's blessed light
Could you have known him good or wise.

Beside him from my birth I grew,
E'en to the middle time of youth,
And never was there heart so true,
Though shy of all the shows of truth.

Silent he often sat, and sad,
While on his lips there played a smile,
Which told you that his spirit had
Some lovely vision all the while.

Like flowers that drop in hidden streams,
Low under shelving weights of ground,
His thoughts went drooping into dreams
Though never trembling into sound.

The common fields, the darkening woods,
The silver runnels and blue skies,
He mused of in his solitudes
And gazed on with a lover's eyes.

The hollow where we used to stray,
Gathering the rush with purple joints -
Till, from the haycocks thick and gray,
The shadows stretched in dusky points,

And homeward with their glittering scythes
The mowers came, and paused to say
Some playful reprimand (the tithes
Of our thus idling all the day) -

Lay green beneath the crimson swaths
Of sunset, when I thither came,
And the thick wings of twilight moths
Flitted in circles all the same.

And the brown beetle hummed upon
The furrow as the day grew dim,
As, when in sunset lights long gone,
I trod the meadow-side with him.

The swallow round the gable led
Her fledgling brood, but far and near,
O'er wood and wold there seemed to spread
A dry and dreary atmosphere.

Unpraised but in my simple rhymes,
With sullen brow and footsteps slow,
Along the wilds of burning climes
Alone, unloved, I saw him go.

No heart but mine his memory keeps -
The world will never hear his name,
Dreamless he lingers by the steeps
Whereon he might have climbed to fame.

Submitted: Friday, April 11, 2014

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