The Bacchanal


Beside a cottage-door,
Sang Ella at her wheel;
Ruthven rode o’er the moor,
Down at her feet to kneel:
A spotted palfrey gay
Came ambling at his side,
To bear the maid away
As his affianced bride.

A high-born noble he,
Of stately halls secure;
A low-born peasant she,
Of parentage obscure.
How soft the honeyed words
He breathes into her ears!–
The melody of birds!
The music of the spheres!

With love her bosom swells,
Which she would fain conceal–
Her eyes, like crystal wells,
Its hidden depths reveal.
While liquid diamonds drip
From feeling’s fountain warm,
Flutters her scarlet lip–
A rose-leaf in a storm!

As from an April sky
The rain-clouds flit away,
So from the maiden’s eye
Vanished the falling spray,
Which lingered but awhile
Her dimpled cheek upon–
Then melted in her smile,
Like vapor in the sun.

The maid is all his own!
She trusts his plighted word,
And, lightly on the roan,
She springs beside her lord:
She leaves her father’s cot,
She turns her from the door–
That green and holy spot
Which she will see no more!

They hied to distant lands,
That lord and peasant-maid:
The church ne’er joined their hands,
For Ella was betrayed!
Torn from her native bower,
That modest rose of May,
Drooped, in his stately tower,
And passed from earth away.

They laid her in the ground,
And Ella was forgot–
Dead was her father found
In his deserted cot.
But Ruthven–what of him?
He ran the story o’er,
And, filling to the brim,
He thought of it no more!

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