[Editor: This poem by Kenneth Mackay was published in Stirrup Jingles from the Bush and the Turf and Other Rhymes (1887).]
The Love Maiden.
He comes out from the deeper shades
To where, amid the golden light
That kisses soft the wattle glades,
She stands in robes of white
Alone among the sunlit meads,
A nymph so young, so pure, so fair,
That every ray its brightness feeds
Upon her standing there.
Within her fingers lightly pressed,
Gazed on with tender loving eyes,
A rose — Ah! flower, indeed, how blessed! —
Watched by her ere it dies.
She dreams of one, yet does not deem
(His nearing tread so light and fleet,)
That o’er his cloak the self-same beam
Has swept which bathes her feet.
But now his arm is round her cast,
His raven hair has touched her own;
Her lover has come back at last,
She is no more alone.
Around the stem her fingers press;
He pleads to stay with her for aye:
The red sweet lips low murmur ‘yes;’
As dies the summer day.
Kenneth Mackay, Stirrup Jingles from the Bush and the Turf and Other Rhymes, Sydney: Edwards, Dunlop & Co., 1887, page 66
aye = always, forever
ere = before (from the Middle English “er”, itself from the Old English “aer”, meaning early or soon)
o’er = over (pronounced the same as “oar”, “or”, and “ore”)