The Book of Odes, by L. Cranmer-Byng, , at sacred-texts.com
You came—a simple lad
In dark blue cotton clad,
To barter serge for silken wear;
But not for silk you dallied there.
Ah! was it not for me
Who led you through the K’e,
Who guided you
To far Tun-K’ew?
"It is not I who would put off the day;
But you have none your cause to plead,"
I said,—"O love, take heed,
When the leaves fall do with me what you may."
I saw the red leaves fall,
And climbed the ruined wall,
Towards the city of Fuh-kwan
I did the dim horizon scan.
"He cometh not," I said,
And burning tears were shed:
You came—I smiled,
You said, "By taper reed and tortoise-shell,
I have divined, and all, O love, is well."
[paragraph continues] "Then haste the car," I cried,
"Gather my goods and take me to thy side."
Before the mulberry tree
With leaves hath strewn the lea,
How glossy-green are they! how rare!
Ah! thou young thoughtless dove beware!
Avoid the dark fruit rife
With sorrow to thy life.
And thou, whose fence
Seek no sweet pleasuring with any youth!
For when a man hath sinned, but little shame
Is fastened to his name,
Yet erring woman wears the garb of ruth.
When the lone mulberry tree
With leaves bestrews the lea,
They yellow slowly, slowly down
From green to gold, from gold to brown.
Three sombre years ago
I fled with you, and lo,
The floods of K’e
Creep to the curtains of my little car.
Through cloud and gloom I was your constant
Now you have gone from sight,
And love's white star roams aimless through
[paragraph continues] For three long years your wife,
Toil was my part in life,
Early from sleep I rose and went
About my labour, calm, content;
Nor any morn serene
Lightened the dull routine.
Early and late,
I was your mate,
Bearing the burdens that were yours to share.
Fain of the little love that was my lot,
Ah, kinsmen scorn me not!
How should ye know when silence chills despair?
Old we should grow in accord,
Old—and grief is my lord.
Between her banks the K’e doth steer,
And pine-woods ring the lonely mere.
In pleasant times I bound
My dark hair to the sound
Of whispered vows
’Neath lilac boughs,
And little recked o’er broken faith to weep.
Now the grey shadows o’er the marshland creep:
The willows stir and fret:
Low in the west the dull dun sun hath set.