My Lady and I [poem by Agnes Neale]

[Editor: This poem by Agnes Neale was published in Shadows and Sunbeams (1890).]

My Lady and I.

My lady sat in her garden bower,
Queen of the queenliest rose was she,
Fairest lily of lilies fair,
Loveliest flower of earth to me.
Not the daisies that kissed the sod,
Not sweetest violets bathed in dew,
Not even the stately hyacinth,
Or the sweet forget-me-not’s steadfast blue
Are half as lovely as she I love;
Are half as bright as her starry eyes,
Where the light of truth in their warm depth glows
Like the golden sun in the noontide skies.

My lady is slender, and fair, and tall,
And we love each other, my darling and I;
And we never think in her garden bower
Of the winter time when the roses die.
We live in the summer, my lady and I,
Where the birds are singing the whole day through;
And we care not even if storms should come —
Storms cannot hurt us while we are true.
What if the roses should fade away?
Or if the glad bird notes should cease to ring?
They will sing and blossom again we know
In the golden light of another spring.

My lady lies in a solemn sleep —
Whiter than loveliest lily she;
Stainless and pure as the snowdrop pale
Is the fairest flower of the earth to me.
The storms have come, but they could not hurt,
We live in the summer, my lady and I —
She on the shores of the crystal sea,
I in the thought of the days gone by.
What if our roses are faded and dead?
What if our birds should have ceased to sing?
They will sing and blossom again, we know,
In the golden light of eternal spring.

Agnes Neale, Shadows and Sunbeams, Adelaide: Burden & Bonython, 1890, pages 58-59

Editor’s notes:
bower = a shaded, leafy resting place or shelter, usually located within a garden or park and often made of latticework upon which plants (especially vines) are grown, or made out of intertwined tree boughs or vines (also known as an “arbor”) (“bower” may also refer to a country cottage or retreat, or to a woman’s bedroom or apartments in a medieval castle or mansion)

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