Three months ago, the stream did flow,
    The lilies bloomed along the edge;
And we were lingering to and fro,—
Where none will track thee in this snow,
    Along the stream, beside the hedge.
Ah! sweet, be free to come and go;
    For if I do not hear thy foot,
    The frozen river is as mute,—
    The flowers have dried down to the root;
    And why, since these be changed since May,
        Shouldst thou change less than they?


And slow, slow as the winter snow,
    The tears have drifted to mine eyes;
And my two cheeks, three months ago,
Set blushing at thy praises so,
    Put paleness on for a disguise.
Ah! sweet, be free to praise and go;
    For if my face is turned to pale,
    It was thine oath that first did fail,—
    It was thy love proved false and frail!
    And why, since these be changed, I trow,
        Should I change less than thou?

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on December 19, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.