Chill penury and winter’s power
Upon my soul so hard have prest,
That I would fain have seen no more
The red flow’rs that the meadows drest:
Yet, truth! ’twere hard, if I were gone,
Upon the merry-making throng,
That loud with joy was wont to ring,
And o’er the green to dance and spring!
Under the lime tree
On the heather,
Where we had shared a place of rest,
Still you may find there,
Flowers crushed and grass down-pressed.
Beside the forest in the vale,
Sweetly sang the nightingale.
I came to meet him
At the green:
There was my truelove come before.
Such was I greeted —
Heaven’s Queen! —
That I am glad for evermore.
Had he kisses? A thousand some:
See how red my mouth’s become.
There he had fashioned
A bed from every kind of flower.
It sets to laughing
Whoever comes upon that bower;
By the roses well one may,
Mark the spot my head once lay.
If any knew
He lay with me
(May God forbid!), for shame I’d die.
What did he do?
May none but he
Ever be sure of that — and I,
And one extremely tiny bird,
Who will, I think, not say a word.