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February 25th, 1851

You are to be married, Mary;
This hour as I wakeful lie
In the dreamy dawn of the morning,
Your wedding hour draws nigh;
Miles off, you are rising, dressing,
Your bridemaidens gay among,
In the same old house we played in--
You and I, when we were young.


Your bridemaids--they were our playmates:
Those known rooms, every wall,
Could speak of our childish frolics,
Loves, jealousies, great and small:
Do you mind how pansies changed we
And smiled at the word "forget"?--
'T was a girl's romance: yet somehow
I have kept my pansy yet.


Do you mind our poems written
Together? our dreams of fame--
And of love--how we'd share all secrets
When that sweet mystery came?
It is no mystery now, Mary;
It was unveiled, year by year,
Till--this is your marriage morning;
And I rest quiet here.


I cannot call up your face, Mary,
The face of the bride today:
You have outgrown my knowledge,
The years have so slipped away.
I see but your girlish likeness,
Brown eyes and brown falling hair;--
God knows, I did love you dearly,
And was proud that you were fair.


Many speak my name, Mary,
While yours in home's silence lies:
The future I read in toil's guerdon,
You will read in your children's eyes:
The past--the same past with either--
Is to you a delightsome scene,
But I cannot trace it clearly
For the graves that rise between.


I am glad you are happy, Mary!
These tears, could you see them fall,
Would show, though you have forgotten,
I have remembered all.
And though my cup may be empty
While yours is all running o'er,
Heaven keep you its sweetness, Mary,
Brimming for evermore.