You left me with the autumn time;
When the winter stripped the forest bare,
Then dressed it in his spotless rime;
When frosts were lurking in the air
You left me here and went away.
The winds were cold; you could not stay.
You sought a warmer clime, until
The south wind, artful maid, should break
The winter’s trumpets, and should fill
The air with songs of birds; and wake
The sleeping blossoms on the plain
And make the brooks to flow again.
I thought that the winter desolate,
And all times felt a sense of loss.
I taught my longing heart to wait,
And said, ‘When Spring shall come across
The hills, with blossoms in her track,
The she, our loved one, will come back.’
And now the hills with grass and moss
The spring with cunning hands has spread,
And yet I feel my grievous loss.
My heart will not be comforted,
But crieth daily, ‘Where is she
You promised should come back to me? ‘
Oh, love! where are you? day by day
I seek to find you, but in vain.
Men point me to a grave, and say:
‘There is her bed upon the plain.’
But though I see no trace of you,
I cannot thiink their words are true.
You were too sweet to wholly pass
Away from earth, and leave no trace;
You were to fair to let the grass
Grow rank and tall above your face.
Your voice, that mocked the robin’s trill,
I cannot think is hushed and still.
I thought I saw your golden hair
One day, and reached to touch a strand;
I found but yellow sunbeams there –
The bright rays fell aslant my hand,
And seemed to mock, with lights and shades,
The silken meshes of your braids.
Again, I thought I saw your hand
Wave, as if beckoning to me;
I found ’twas but a lily, fanned
By the cool zephyrs from the sea.
Oh, love! I find no trace of you –
I wonder if their words were true?
One day I heard a singing voice;
A burst of music, trill on trill.
It made my very soul rejoice;
My heart gave and exultant thrill.
I cried, ‘Oh heart, we’ve found her – hush! ‘
But no – ’twas the silver-throated thrush.
And once I thought I saw your face,
And wild with joy I ran to you;
But found, when I had reached the place,
‘Twas a blush rose, bathed in dew.
Ah, love! I think you must be dead;
And I believe the words they said.