Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 1/Young Nimrod's first love



A summer noon is brightening
Upon a joyous scene
Of Beauty mid the chestnut glades,
And youth upon the green.

One mingles with the festive throng
Of girlhood bright and free,
And scarce may tell who bears the bell
Of that sweet coterie.

But when the light-wing’d hours have fled,
The happy fêtes are done,
Of forms that seem’d resistless then,
His memories seek but one.

One of them all most loveable,
One of them all most fair,
With the blue of heaven in her eye,
Its sunshine in her hair.

He battles with the dream of her,
He fears to dream too much:
But a soft hand-pressure comes again
And thrills him at the touch;

Till in his wild idëal
A cottage home is seen
(He the proud monarch of the spot,
And she its graceful queen):

A paradise where roses climb
With music in their leaves;
A bower of bliss, all clematis,
With swallow-haunted eaves:

Till all the ties, that held so fast
The celibate erstwhiles,
Are broken by the witchery
Of unforgotten smiles.

No after-breakfast stables—
No weed at evening hours—
But tender nuptial tête-à-têtes,
And walks among the flowers.

Oh! Love, young, wayward, wilful Love,
So blindly busy there,
What wonder manhood waxes weak
With maidenhood so fair?

Young Nimrod's first love (OAW).png


Perish the wild idëal!
Perish soft thoughts like these!
Let squireen’s stalwart spirit
Scorn lover’s Capuan ease!

November’s skies are clouded dun,
November’s dead leaves fall;
The hound is chafing on the lawn,
The hunter in the stall.

The lovesick youth is splendent in
A coat of spotless pink;
The lovesick youth has ceased to dream,
And just begun to think.

And duties, that before were dim,
Assert themselves right clear:
Shall rivals win the pride of place
While I am mooning here?

The scent will linger on the turf,
The streaming pack’s full cry
Will make the laggart’s pulse leap flame,
The coward’s heart beat high.

Stout foxes of the hillside,
And did I dare to place
In contrast with my love for you
That pretty baby-face?

And dared I rank a maiden’s heart
Your noble chace above?
And barter you for dalliant dreams
And thoughts of cottage-love?

Married—and lost—and done for—
And stranger hands to guide
Old Brownlock tho’ the bullfinch,
Young Gaylad o’er the tide:—

Away! the first wide brook may wash
The madness from my brain;
The first fence tear the fetter loose,
And leave me free again.

Thus, thus I vault upon my steed,
Thus, thus I break the spell:
My love, I fill my flask to thee;
My beautiful, farewell!”

Ralph A. Benson.