New York Nocturnes and Other Poems

by Charles G.D. Roberts



(A Backwoods Ballad)


Spring, summer, autumn, winter,
   Over the wild world rolls the year.
Comes June to the rose-red tamarack buds,
   But Marjory comes not here.

The pastures miss her; the house without her

   Grows forgotten, and gray, and old;
The wind, and the lonely light of the sun,
   Are heavy with the tears untold.

Spring, summer, autumn, winter,
   Morning, evening, over and o’er!

The swallow returns to the nested rafter,
   But Marjory comes no more.

The gray barn-doors in the long wind rattle
   Hour by hour of the long white day.
The horses fret by the well-filled manger

   Since Marjory went away.

The sheep she fed at the bars await her.
   The milch cows low for her down the lane.
They long for her light, light hand at the milking,—
   They long for her hand in vain.


Spring, summer, autumn, winter,
   Morning and evening, over and o’er!
The bees come back with the willow catkins,
   But Marjory comes no more.

The voice of the far-off city called to her.

   Was it long years or an hour ago?
She went away, with dear eyes weeping,
   To a world she did not know.

The berried pastures they could not keep her,
   The brook, nor the buttercup-golden hill,

Nor even the long, long love familiar,—
   The strange voice called her still.

She would not stay for the old home garden;—
   The scarlet poppy, the mignonette,
The fox-glove bell, and the kind-eyed pansy,

   Their hearts will not forget.

Oh, that her feet had not forgotten
   The woodland country, the homeward way!
Oh, to look out of the sad, bright window
   And see her come back, some day!


Spring, summer, autumn, winter,
   Over the wild world rolls the year.
Comes joy to the bird on the nested rafter;
   But Marjory comes not here.