I did love thee, Lily Lee,
As the petrel loves the sea.
As the wild bee loves the thyme,
As the poet loves his rhyme,
As the blossom loves the dew —
But the angels loved thee, too !
Once when twilight’s dying head
Pressed her saffron-sheeted bed.
And the silent stars drew near.
White and tremulous with fear.
While the night with sullen frown
Strangled the young zephyr down,
Told I all my love to thee.
Hoping, fearing, Lily Lee.
Fluttered then her gentle breast
With a troubled, sweet unrest.
Like a bird too near the net
Which the fowler’s hand hath set ;
But her mournful eyes the while.
And her spirit-speaking smile.
Told me love could not dispart
Death’s pale arrow from her heart.
Hushing from that very day
Passion pleading to have way —
Folding close her little hand,
Watched I with her, till the sand,
Crumbling from beneath her tread,
Lowered her softly to the dead,
Where in peace she waits for me —
Sweetest, dearest Lily Lee.
As the chased hart loves the wave,
As blind silence loves the grave^
As the penitent loves prayer,
As pale passion loves despair.
Loved I, and still love I thee,
Angel-stolen Lily Lee.
This poem is in the public domain.