I had a love in soft south land,
Beloved through April far in May;
He waited on my lightest breath,
And never dared to say me nay.
He saddened if my cheer was sad,
But gay he grew if I was gay;
We never differed on a hair,
My yes his yes, my nay his nay.
The wedding hour was come, the aisles
Were flushed with sun and flowers that day;
I pacing balanced in my thoughts,–
“It’s quite too late to think of nay.”–
My bridegroom answered in his turn,
Myself had almost answered “yea”:
When through the flashing nave I heard.
A struggle and resounding “nay.”
Bridemaids and bridegroom shrank in fear,
But I stood high who stood at bay:
“And if I answer yea, fair Sir,
What man art thou to bar with nay?”
He was a strong man from the north,
Light-locked, with eyes of dangerous gray:
“Put yea by for another time
In which I will not say thee nay.”
He took me in his strong white arms,
He bore me on his horse away
O’er crag, morass, and hair-breadth pass,
But never asked me yea or nay.
He made me fast with book and bell,
With links of love he makes me stay;
Till now I’ve neither heart nor power
Nor will nor wish to say him nay.