by William Dean Howells

William Dean Howells

SHE hung the cage at the window;
"If he goes by," she said,
"He will hear my robin singing,
And when he lifts his head,
I shall be sitting here to sew,
And he will bow to me, I know."

The robin sang a love-sweet song,
The young man raised his head;
The maiden turned away and blushed:
"I am a fool!" she said,
And went on 'broidering in silk
A pink-eyed rabbit, white as milk.

The young man loitered slowly
By the house three times that day;
She took her bird from the window:
"He need not look this way."
She sat at her piano long,
And sighed, and played a death-sad song.

But when the day was done, she said,
"I wish that he would come!
Remember, Mary, if he calls
To-night — I'm not at home."
So when he rang, she went — the elf! —
She went and let him in herself.

They sang full long together
Their songs love-sweet, death-sad;
The robin woke from his slumber,
And rang out, clear and glad.
"Now go!" she coldly said; " 'tis late";
And followed him — to latch the gate.

He took the rosebud from her hair,
While, "You shall not!" she said;
He closed her hand within his own,
And, while her tongue forbade,
Her will was darkened in the eclipse
Of blinding love upon his lips.

Last updated March 24, 2023