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Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 11/The bride of an hour



From Gunnerfleet to Ivinscar,
Lie mosses deep, and swamp, and heather:
There’s little change or difference there
In summer or in winter weather.

At times you hear the lapwing’s note
Pipe sadly o’er the mosses yellow,
And troops of lazy plover float
And hover o’er the sandy fallow.

Though many a year has fled away,
With clouds and sunshine, joy or sadness,
It seems to me but yesterday
I heard those sounds of mirth and gladness.

Within the walls of yonder cot
Twine two young hearts that naught shall sever:
Alas! alas! I had forgot,
Those two young hearts now sleep for ever!

A simple watcher[2] he, but tall
And straight, and bold and open-hearted:
She like a tender heather-bell,
That lingers when the summer’s parted.

So bright her presence seemed, that light
And warmth around her footsteps flitted:
Anger, where’er she came, took flight,
And every brow from care unknitted.

A thoughtful love, a loving heart;
A smile that breathed in every feature:
She seemed on this dull earth below,
Of some bright heaven a chosen creature.

In words of song is passion told,
And blazoned loud in phrase poetic:
Give me the thoughts which buried lie
Reposing in hearts sympathetic.

No tale have I of love to tell,
No tale of obstacles surmounted:
The sad and solemn words of truth
By my poor mouth shall be recounted.

In nuptial bonds their hands were joined,
The ring put on, the blessing spoken:
In one brief hour the loving link
That chained those hearts was snapped and broken.

The Bride of an Hour - Frederick Eltze.png

A mile from yonder cot there lies
A glassy pool by wave scarce ruffled,
Silent and still, yet you may hear
The sound of falling water muffled.

For ’neath the earth the stream flows on
Under full many an emerald meadow,
Under dank rock and mossy cave,
All sleeping in eternal shadow.

And though the waters seem to flow
A measured slowly-gliding current,
A hundred yards or two below
They issue forth a foaming torrent:

From that dark pool, when early dew
Makes opal all the crimson heather,
She used to bear a brimming jar,
And on her wedding-day went thither.

She ne’er returned; yet how she died
No trace remained, no tale or tiding:
And yonder stream seemed still the same,
Onwards, yet ever onwards gliding.

Hugh, though to outward eye the same
(And few could tell his heart was broken),
Thither, for ever searching, came,
And prayed of his lost bride some token.

One day, about the lower fall
He lingered,—and his search was ended!
A sunbeam, through the torrent wave,
Lit on a skeleton suspended.

My tale is told: how she had died,
This was the ghastly tale and tiding:
Yet yonder stream is still the same,
Onwards, yet ever onwards gliding.



  1. Suggested by the peculiar nature of the streams in the north-eastern part of Yorkshire, near Ingleborough.
  2. Used in Yorkshire for “keeper.”