[Editor: This poem by William Blocksidge (also known as William Baylebridge) was published in Songs o’ the South (1908).]
A Rural Wedding
God’s blessing be upon this humble throng —
These rustics gaily joined in festal ring!
How sweet the bride — no flow’ret born in Spring
Is purer, none more fit to grace my song!
God keep her! May all care and may all wrong
Pass by, and touch not here with baleful wing;
And closer may her well-loved Hylas cling
To his fair mate as speed their days along!
Love’s holy angels surely will attend
A maid so gentle and a swain so brave,
And Pleasure give to be their bounden slave,
And all their simple joys with peace defend.
May their two souls in perfect concord blend,
And reap the golden promise morning gave!
William Blocksidge, Songs o’ the South, London: Watts, 1908, p. 43
baleful = expressing destructive or harmful intentions; displaying a menacing or threatening visage; manifesting an intent of destruction, harm, menace; having a dangerous, destructive, or harmful effect; (archaic) miserable, unhappy, wretched
bounden = beholden, being under an obligation (e.g. a bounden duty), bound morally or compulsory to a responsibility or duty; (archaic) bound, past tense of bind
festal = of, relating to, or characteristic of, a festival, feast, or celebration; festive
flow’ret = floweret: small flower; floret
God keep her = a prayer to keep a female safe, rendered in various ways, e.g. “God keep her in his care”, “God keep her safe” (or “God keep her safe from harm”), “God keep her soul” (regarding males, a similar phraseology is used, with “God keep him”)
Hylas = in Greek mythology, Hylas was an arms bearer and companion to Heracles; along with Heracles, Hylas was one of the Argonauts, but he was abducted by female water nymphs, after they became infatuated with him, and he was never seen again
maid = maiden, young woman, young female (may also refer to a female servant)
rustics = country people, rural folk (from rustic: of or relating to the countryside or rural areas; plain, rough, or simple in appearance or fashion; something typical of rural places or of the countryside; lacking refined etiquette or social graces; characteristic of or resembling rural people)
swain = a young male admirer, lover, or suitor; also may refer to a country lad, peasant, or shepherd
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