The Gift of Love

by George Arnold

George Arnold

"GIVE me," I said, "that ring,
Which on thy taper finger gleams;
Sweet thoughts to me't will bring,
When summer sunset's beams
Have faded o'er the western sea,
And left me dreaming, Love, of thee!"
"0 no!" the maiden cried;
"This shining ring is bright, but cold:
That bond is loosely tied
Which must be clasped with gold!
The ring would soon forgotten be:
Some better gift I'11 give to thee!"
"Then give me that red rose,"
Said I, "which on thy bosom heaves
In ecstasied repose,
And droops its blushing leaves:
If thou wouldst have me think of thee,
Fair maiden, give the rose to me! "
"0 no! " she softly said,
"I will not give thee any flower:
This rose will surely fade;
It passes with the hour:
A faded rose can never be
An emblem of my love for thee "
"Then give me but thy word, -
A vow of love, -'t were better yet,"
I cried; "who once has heard
Such vows, can ne'er forget!
If thou wilt give this pledge to me,
Nor ring nor rose I'11 ask of thee!"
"0 no!" she said again;
"For spoken vows are empty breath,
Whose memory is vain
When passion perisheth:
If e'er I lose my love for thee,
My vows must all forgotten be!"
"Then what," I asked, "wilt thou,
0 dearest! to thy lover give?
Nor ring nor rose nor vow
May I from thee receive;
And yet some symbol should there be
To typify thy love for me "
Then dropped her silvery voice
Unto a whisper, soft and low:
"Here, take this gift, -my choice, -
The sweetest love can know! "
She raised her head all lovingly,
And smiling, gave - a kiss to me!

Last updated September 17, 2022