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And I said, “The thing is precious to me;

They will bury her soon in the churchyard clay; It lies on her heart, and lost must be,

If I do not take it away.
As I stretched my hand I held my breath;

I turned as I drew the curtains apart,
I dared not look at her face of death;

I knew where to find her heart.

I thought at first, as my touch fell there,

It had warmed that heart to life, with love; For the first thing I touched was warm, I swear,

And I could feel it move.

'Twas the hand of a man that was moving slow

O'er the heart of the dead—from the other side, And at once the sweat broke o'er my brow;

“Who is robbing the corpse?I cried. Opposite me, by the taper's light,

The friend of my bosom, the man I loved, Stood over the corpse, and all as white,

And neither of us moved.

“What do you here, my friend?” The man

Looked first at me, and then at the dead; “There is a portrait here,” he began.

“There is—It is mine,” I said. Said the friend of my bosom, “Yours, no doubt,

The portrait was till a month ago,

When this suffering angel took that out,

And placed mine there, I know.”

“This woman, she loved me well,” said I.

“A month ago," said my friend to me. “And in your throat,” I groaned, “you lie !”

He answered, “Let us see.

We found the portrait there in the place,

We opened it by the taper's shine ; The gems were all unchanged—the face

Was neither his nor mine.

One nail drives out another, at least !

“ The face of the portrait there,” I cried, “Is our friend, the Raphael-faced young priest Who confessed her when she died.”



Ten years ago when she was ten,

I used to tease and scold her;
I liked her and she loved me then,

A boy some five years older.

I liked her, she would fetch my book,

Bring lunch to stream or thicket,
Would oil my gun, and bait my hook,

And field for hours at cricket.



She'd mend my cap or find my whip,

Ah, but boy's hearts are stony !
I liked her rather less than “Gyp,”

And far less than my pony.

She loved me then, but Heaven knows why,

Small wonder she had hated; For scores of dolls she had to cry,

Whom I had decapitated.

I tore her frocks, I mussed her hair,

Called “red” the sheen upon it; Out fishing I would even dare

Catch tadpoles in her bonnet.

Well, now I expiate my crime

The Nemesis of fables
Comes after years; to-day old time

On me has turned the tables.

I'm twenty-five, she's twenty now,

Dark-eyed, fair-cheeked, and bonny; The curls are golden round her brow

She smiles and calls me “Johnny.”

Of yore

I used her Christian name, But now through fate or malice, When she is by, my lips can't frame

The letters that spell “ Alice.”

I who could laugh at her and tease,

Stand silent now before her,
Dumb through the very wish to please

A speechless, shy adorer.

Or, if she turns to me to speak,

I'm dazzled by her graces;
The hot blood rushes to my cheek,

I babble commonplaces.

She's kind, and cool; ah, Heaven knows how

I wish she blushed and faltered ! She likes me and I love her now.

Ah me, how things have altered !

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So the truth's out! I'll grasp it like a snake-
It will not slay me. My heart shall not break
Awhile, if only for the children's sake.

For his, too, somewhat. Let him stand un

None say he gave me less than honor claimed,
Except one trifle scarcely worth being named-
The heart. That's gone. The corrupt dead might

As easily raised up, breathing, fair to see,
As he could bring his whole heart back to me.



I never sought him in coquettish sports,
Or courted him as silly maidens court,
And wonder when the longed-for prize falls


I only loved him any woman would ;
But shut my love up till he came and sued,
Then poured it o'er his dry life like a flood.

I was so happy I could make him blest!
So happy that I was his first and best,
As he mine--when he took me to his breast.

Ah me! if only then he had been true !
If for one little year, a month or two,
He had given me love for love, as was my due.

For he had told me, ere the deed was done,
He only raised me to his heart's dear throne-
Poor substitute !-because the queen was gone.

Oh, had he whispered, when his sweetest kiss Was warm upon my mouth in fancied bliss, He had kissed another woman like to this,

It were less bitter! Sometimes I could weep
To be so cheated, like a child asleep-
Were not the anguish far too dry and deep.

So I built my house upon another's ground; Mocked with a heart just caught at the rebound, A cankering thing that looked so firm and sound.

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