I so loved once, when Death came by I hid
Away my face,
And all my sweetheart’s tresses she undid
To make my hiding-place.

The dread shade passed me thus unheeding; and
I turned me then
To calm my love — kiss down her shielding hand
And comfort her again.

And lo! she answered not: and she did sit
All fixedly,
With her fair face and the sweet smile of it,
In love with Death, not me.

Analysis, meaning and summary of James Whitcomb Riley's poem The Rival

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