Jane Wilde

27 December 1821 – 3 February 1896

Undiné.From The Danish

Undiné by the lonely shore,
In lonely grief, is pacing;
The vows her perjured lover swore
No more with hope retracing.
Yet none in beauty could compare
With ocean's bright‐haired daughter.
Her cheek is like the lotus fair
That lieth on the water;

Her eye is like the azure sky,
The azure deep reflecteth;
Her smile, the glittering lights on high,
The glittering wave collecteth.
Her robe of green with many a gem
And pearl of ocean shineth,
And round her brow a diadem
Of rosy coral twineth.

Like diamonds scattered here and there,
The crystal drops are glistening
Amid her flowing golden hair,
As thus she paceth listening
Listening through the silver light,
The light that lover loveth;
Listening through the dark midnight,
But still no lover cometh.

An earthly love her heart enthralls,
She loves with earth's emotion;
For him she left her crystal halls
Beneath the crystal ocean.
Abjured them since he placed that day
The gold ring on her finger,
Though still the sparkling diamond spray
Around her robe would linger.

And she hath gained a human soul,
The soul of trusting woman;
But love hath only taught her dole,
Through tears she knows the human.
So from her sisters far apart,
Her lonely path she taketh,
With human sorrow in the heart
That human love forsaketh.

She weaves a crown of dripping reeds,
On which the moon shines ghastly
'A wedding crown my lover needs,
My pale hands weave it fastly.'
She treads a strange and solemn dance,
The waves around her groaning,
And mingles, with prophetic sense,
Her singing with their moaning.

'My bridegroom, nought can save thee now,
Since plighted troth is broken
The fatal crown awaits thy brow,
The fatal spell is spoken.
Thou'rt standing by another bride,
Before the holy altar
A shadowy form at thy side
Will make thy strong heart falter.

'To her, within the holy church,
Thy perjured vows art giving;
But never shalt thou cross the porch
Again amidst the living.
I wait thee 'neath the chill cold waves,
While marriage‐bells are tolling;
Our bridal chant, 'neath ocean's caves,
Be ocean's billows rolling.'

The bridegroom, in his pride of youth,
Beside the fair bride standeth
'Now take her hand to plight thy troth,'
The solemn Priest commandeth.
But lo! a shadowy form is seen
Betwixt the bridal greeting,
A shadowy hand is placed between,
To hinder theirs from meeting.

The priest is mute, the bridegroom pale
He knows the sea‐nymph's warning;
The fair bride trembles 'neath 'neth her veil,
The bridal's turned to mourning.
No more within the holy church,
Love's holy vows are giving;
They bear the bridegrom from the porch
The dead amidst the living!
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