“Sister,” said busy Amelotte 
To listless Aloÿse; 
“Along your wedding-road the wheat 
Bends as to hear your horse's feet, 
And the noonday stands still for heat.” 
Amelotte laughed into the air 
With eyes that sought the sun: 
But where the walls in long brocade 
Were screened, as one who is afraid 
Sat Aloÿse within the shade. 
And even in shade was gleam enough 
To shut out full repose 
From the bride's 'tiring-chamber, which 
Was like the inner altar-niche 
Whose dimness worship has made rich. 

Birds sang, turf came to the water-edge, and trees grew from it. Away off among the trees I saw beautiful women walking. Their clothes were of many delicate colours and clung to them, and they were tall and graceful and had yellow hair. Their robes trailed over the grass. They glided in and out among the trees, and over their heads hung yellow fruit like large pears of melted gold.

I said, “It is very fair; I would go up and taste the—”

God said, “Wait.”

Four broad beech-trees great of hold,

Crowned the green, smooth-swelling knoll;

There She stood, the glorious form

Dazzling with its beauty warm;

Naked as the sun of noon,

Naked as the midnight moon:

And around her, tame and mild,

All the forest creatures wild—

Lion, panther, kid, and fawn,

Eagle, hawk, and dove, all drawn

By the magic of her splendor,

By her great voice, rich and tender,

Whereof every beast and bird

Understood each tone and word,

While she fondled and carest,

     "I tell you I must go!" I retorted, roused to something like passion. "Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you, — and full as much heart!

Swept into limbo is the host
   Of heavenly angels, row on row;
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
   Pale and defeated, rise and go.
The great Jehovah is laid low,
   Vanished his burning bush and rod—
Say, are we doomed to deeper woe?
   Shall marriage go the way of God?

Monogamous, still at our post,
   Reluctantly we undergo
Domestic round of boiled and roast,
   Yet deem the whole proceeding slow.
Daily the secret murmurs grow;
   We are no more content to plod
Along the beaten paths—and so

O youth whose heart is right,
  Whose loins are girt to gain

The hell-defended height
  Where Virtue beckons plain;

Who seest the stark array
  And hast not stayed to count
But singly wilt assay
  The many-cannoned mount:

Well is thy war begun;
  Endure, be strong and strive;
But think not, O my son,
  To save thy soul alive.