One idle hour she sought to see
Whose image ’twas he cherished so
(All fondly certain whose ’twould be),
And found — a girl she did not know.
A trusty maiden’s modest face,
All innocence and purity.
“What nun is this that fills my place?
Alas, he loves me not!” sighed she.
“Nay, daughter, let no foolish fears
Your trust in his devotion mar,”
Her mother said. “Come, dry your tears;
That is the girl he thinks you are.”
All fondly curious with love —
(Half guessing what he would lay bare)
He rifled her heart’s treasure trove,
And found — a stranger’s image there.
“This is the man she loves!” said he,
And, searching in the noble face,
Read high resolve and constancy.
“This saint,” he cried, “usurps my place!”
“Nay,” spake his friend. “Your anger cool;
Gaze on that God-like face once more;
Then be satisfied, O fool;
That is the man she takes you for.”
C. J. Dennis, Backblock Ballads and Later Verses, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1918, pages 27-28
Previously published in:
C. J. Dennis, Backblock Ballads and Other Verses, Melbourne: E. W. Cole, , page 125