Retty's Phases


Retty used to shake her head,
Look with wicked eye;
Say, " I'd tease you, simple Ned,
If I cared to try!"
Then she'd hot-up scarlet red,
Stilly step away,
Much afraid that what she'd said
Sounded bold to say.


Retty used to think she loved
(Just a little) me.
Not untruly, as it proved
Afterwards to be.
For, when weakness forced her rest
If we walked a mile,
She would whisper she was blest
By my clasp awhile.


Retty used at last to say
When she neared the Vale,
" Mind that you, Dear, on that day
Ring my wedding peal!"
And we all, with pulsing pride,
Vigorous sounding gave
Those six bells, the while outside
John filled in her grave.


Retty used to draw me down
To the turfy heaps,
Where, with yeoman, squire, and clown
Noticeless she sleeps.
Now her silent slumber-place
Seldom do I know,
For when last I saw her face
Was so long ago!
From an old draft of 1869
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