"Anne Hathaway" by Ethna Carbery [aka Mrs. Seumus MacManus, Anna Johnston] (1866-1902)
Here did you stand, so shy and sweet,
With face turned to the moss-grown way
That William trod with eager feet
To you, at end of day.
Above you, tinted apple-blooms
Showered their leaves across the lane,
And round you stole the soft perfumes
Of flowers after rain–
Old cottage scents that rise at dusk
From rosemary and jessamine,
The passionate warm breath of musk,
And odorous woodbine.
The blush of girlhood is not yours,
You are a woman grave and fair;
Yet in your eyes your youth endures,
And in your sunset hair.
Across the fields at eventide
With jaunty step, and smile elate,
He came and sought you, bluebell-eyed,
Tryst-keeping at the gate.
And, "Sweetheart, hast thou waited long?"
And, "Nay, love, but a little space:"
Then was it but the throstle's song,
Or lovers face to face?
He lingered near you, all unchid,
He prayed, as only lovers can;
He knew the worth your true heart hid,
O fair, O happy Anne.
Dear! did you dream in days to come
How great your lover's name would be?
How spell of his should wreathe your home
How strangers by your hearth should sit
And close their eyes, and seem to view,
Through vistas dim, your shadow flit,
And William's shadow, too?
Or did you live those far-off years
Love-sheltered,–holding home the best,
Haply, no envious, worldly fears
Stirring your gentle breast?
O sweet dead woman! blessed above
All women of those distant days;
Who knew the depth of Shakespeare's love,
And merited his praise.