The Ballad of Love's Skeleton

(179-)

" Come, let's to Culliford Hill and Wood,
And watch the squirrels climb,
And look in sunny places there
For shepherds' thyme."

— " Can I have heart for Culliford Wood,
And hill and bank and tree,
Who know and ponder over all
Things done by me!"

— " Then Dear, don hat, and come along:
We'll strut the Royal strand;
King George has just arrived, his Court,
His guards, and band."

— " You are a Baron of the King's Court
From Hanover lately come,
And can forget in song and dance
What chills me numb.

" Well be the royal scenes for you,
And band beyond compare,
But how is she who hates her crime
To frolic there?

" O why did you so urge and say
'Twould soil your noble name! —
I should have prized a little child,
And faced the shame.

" I see the child — that should have been ,
But was not , born alive;
With such a deed in a woman's life
A year seems five.

" I asked not for the wifely rank,
Nor maiden honour saved;
To call a nestling thing my own
Was all I craved.

" For what's the hurt of shame to one
Of no more note than me?
Can littlest life beneath the sun
More littled be?"

— " Nay, never grieve. The day is bright,
Just as it was ere then:
In the Assembly Rooms to-night
Let's joy again!

" The new Quick-Step is the sweetest dance
For lively toes and heels;
And when we tire of that we'll prance
Bewitching reels.

" Dear, never grieve! As once we whirled
So let us whirl to-night,
Forgetting all things save ourselves
Till dawning light.

" The King and Queen, Princesses three,
Have promised to meet there
The mayor and townsfolk. I've my card
And One to spare.

" The Court will dance at the upper end;
Only a cord between
Them and the burgher-throng below;
A brilliant scene!"

— " I'll go. You've still my heart in thrall:
Save you, all's dark to me.
And God knows what, when love is all,
The end will be!"
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