In Sherborne Abbey

(17 — )

The moon has passed to the panes of the south-aisle wall,
And brought the mullioned shades and shines to fall
On the cheeks of a woman and man in a pew there, pressed
Together as they pant, and recline for rest.

Forms round them loom, recumbent like their own,
Yet differing; for they are chiselled in frigid stone;
In doublets are some; some mailed, as whilom ahorse they leapt;
And stately husbands and wives, side by side as they anciently slept.

" We are not like those," she murmurs. " For ever here set!"
" True, Love," he replies. " We two are not marble yet."
" And, worse," said she; " not husband and wife!"
" But we soon shall be" (from him) " if we've life!"
A silence. A trotting of horses is heard without.
The lovers scarce breathe till its echo has quite died out.

" It was they! They have passed, anyhow!"
" Our horse, slily hid by the conduit,
They've missed, or they'd rushed to impound it!"
" And they'll not discover us now."
" Will not, until 'tis too late,
And we can outface them straight!"

" Why did you make me ride in your front?" says she.
" To outwit the law. That was my strategy.
As I was borne off on the pillion behind you,
Th'abductor was you, Dearest, let me remind you;
And seizure of me by an heiress is no felony,
Whatever to do with me as the seizer may be."

Another silence sinks. And a cloud comes over the moon:
The print of the panes upon them enfeebles, as fallen in a swoon,
Until they are left in darkness unbroke and profound,
As likewise are left their chill and chiselled neighbours around.
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