All thoughts, all passions, all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, All are but ministers of Love, And feed his sacred flame. Oft in my waking dreams do I Live o'er again that happy hour, When midway on the mount I lay, Beside the ruin'd tower. The moonshine, stealing o'er the scene, Had blended with the lights of eve; And she was there, my hope, my joy, My own dear Genevieve! She lean'd against the armèd man, The statue of the armèd Knight; She stood and listen'd to my lay, Amid the lingering light. Few sorrows hath she of her own, My hope! my joy! my Genevieve! She loves me best whene'er I sing The songs that make her grieve. I play'd a soft and doleful air; I sang an old and moving story— An old rude song, that suited well That ruin wild and hoary. She listen'd with a flitting blush, With downcast eyes and modest grace; For well she knew I could not choose But gaze upon her face. I told her of the Knight that wore Upon his shield a burning brand; And that for ten long years he woo'd The Lady of the Land. I told her how he pined: and ah! The deep, the low, the pleading tone With which I sang another's love, Interpreted my own. She listen'd with a flitting blush, With downcast eyes, and modest grace; And she forgave me, that I gazed Too fondly on her face! But when I told the cruel scorn That crazed that bold and lovely Knight, And that he cross'd the mountain-woods, Nor rested day nor night; That sometimes from the savage den, And sometimes from the darksome shade, And sometimes starting up at once In green and sunny glade— There came and look'd him in the face An angel beautiful and bright; And that he knew it was a Fiend, This miserable Knight! And that, unknowing what he did, He leap'd amid a murderous band, And saved from outrage worse than death The Lady of the Land;— And how she wept and clasp'd his knees; And how she tended him in vain— And ever strove to expiate The scorn that crazed his brain;— And that she nursed him in a cave; And how his madness went away, When on the yellow forest leaves A dying man he lay;— His dying words—but when I reach'd That tenderest strain of all the ditty, My faltering voice and pausing harp Disturb'd her soul with pity! All impulses of soul and sense Had thrill'd my guileless Genevieve; The music and the doleful tale, The rich and balmy eve; And hopes, and fears that kindle hope, An undistinguishable throng, And gentle wishes long subdued, Subdued and cherish'd long! She wept with pity and delight, She blush'd with love and virgin shame; And like the murmur of a dream, I heard her breathe my name. Her bosom heaved—she stepp'd aside, As conscious of my look she stept— Then suddenly, with timorous eye She fled to me and wept. She half enclosed me with her arms, She press'd me with a meek embrace; And bending back her head, look'd up, And gazed upon my face. 'Twas partly love, and partly fear, And partly 'twas a bashful art, That I might rather feel, than see, The swelling of her heart. I calm'd her fears, and she was calm, And told her love with virgin pride; And so I won my Genevieve, My bright and beauteous Bride.
This poem is in the public domain.