Alexander Anderson

1845-1909 / Scotland

Anna

I loved her when I was at school—
So early Cupid flung his fetter;
I fought my rivals, like a fool,
And thrash'd them, for I knew no better,
Of course I was not very strong,
And I could count my years eleven;
But then my head was free from song,
And careless of the Muse's heaven.
She ruled me with a queen-like power—
She sat supreme o'er all my fancies;
I flung to her at every hour,
Broadcast, a thousand tender glances;
And when at times we two would stand
Together, busy lessons plying,
I used to touch her gentle hand,
And feel it give a mute replying,
But then the happiest time for me
Was when the patron saint of lovers
Came smiling round, and I was free
To place my vows in fancy covers;
I sent her many a work of art,
Whose each design was Cupid ranging
To fix an arrow in a heart,
With this for motto—'All unchanging.'
She sent me one—I keep it still—
Two hands bound with a rosy tether,
Below a church upon a hill,
To which went couples link'd together.
Ah, me! what many a dream and vow
Rose up with such before my vision!
I prized it then as you would now
A Raphael, Rembrandt, or a Titian.
Well, things went on, as things will roam,
And, in the course of our sweethearting,
I used to see her half-way home,
And take a little kiss at parting;
And still as Cupid plied his strife,
And all my passion growing bolder,
She promised she would be my wife,
But I must be a little older.
O heaven! years have flown away,
And leaves have turn'd from green to yellow
Since then, and I have had to-day
A letter from an old schoolfellow,
Who tells me she I loved of yore—
Then sweet as some Aurora Raby—
Is married now a year and more,
And I'm to come and see her baby.
Now what have I do but call
The muse that mourns o'er vanish'd glory,
And write another Locksley Hall,
And be the hero of the story?
Or—but as earthly things below
Are made to fade, however pleasant,
I'll smile the past away, and go
And give the little imp a present.
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