He rides away with sword and spur,
Garbed in his warlike blazonry,
With gallant glance and smile for her
Upon the dim-lit balcony.
Her kiss upon his lips is warm,
Upon his breast he wears her rose,
From her fond arms to stress and storm
Of many a bannered field he goes.
He dreams of danger, glory, strife,
His voice is blithe, his hand is strong,
He rides perchance to death from life
And leaves his lady with a song;
But her blue-brimmed eyes are dim
With her deep anguish standing there,
Sending across the world with him
The dear, white guerdon of her prayer.
For her the lonely vigil waits
When ashen dawnlights come and go,
Each bringing through the future’s gates
Its presages of fear and woe;
For her the watch with soul and heart
Grown sick with dread, as women may,
Yet keeping still her pain apart
From the wan duties of the day.
‘Tis hers to walk when sunsets yield
Their painted splendors to the skies,
And dream on some far battlefield
Perchance alone, unwatched, he dies;
‘Tis hers to kneel in patient prayer
When midnight stars keep sentinel,
Lest the chill death-dews damp the hair
Upon the brow she loves so well.
So stands she, white and sad and sweet,
Upon the latticed balcony,
From golden hair to slender feet
No lady is so fair as she;
He loves her true, he holds her dear,
But he must ride on dangerous quest,
With gallant glance and smile of cheer,
And her red rose upon his breast.