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Caprice

 


  I.


  She hung the cage at the window:
    "If he goes by," she said,
  "He will hear my robin singing,
    And when he lifts his head,
  I shall be sitting here to sew,
  And he will bow to me, I know."


  The robin sang a love-sweet song,
    The young man raised his head;
  The maiden turned away and blushed:
    "I am a fool!" she said,
  And went on broidering in silk
  A pink-eyed rabbit, white as milk.


  II.


  The young man loitered slowly
    By the house three times that day;
  She took her bird from the window:
    "He need not look this way."
  She sat at her piano long,
  And sighed, and played a death-sad song.


  But when the day was done, she said,
    "I wish that he would come!
  Remember, Mary, if he calls
    To-night--I'm not at home."
  So when he rang, she went--the elf!--
  She went and let him in herself.


  III.


  They sang full long together
    Their songs love-sweet, death-sad;
  The robin woke from his slumber,
    And rang out, clear and glad.
  "Now go!" she coldly said; "'tis late;"
  And followed him--to latch the gate.


  He took the rosebud from her hair,
    While, "You shall not!" she said;
  He closed her hand within his own,
    And, while her tongue forbade,
  Her will was darkened in the eclipse
  Of blinding love upon his lips.


 

William Dean Howells