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Maude Clare

Written by: Christina Rossetti | Biography
 | Quotes (8) |
 Out of the church she followed them
With a lofty step and mien: 
His bride was like a village maid, 
Maude Clare was like a queen.

“Son Thomas, ” his lady mother said, 
With smiles, almost with tears: 
“May Nell and you but live as true
As we have done for years; 

“Your father thirty years ago
Had just your tale to tell; 
But he was not so pale as you, 
Nor I so pale as Nell.”

My lord was pale with inward strife, 
And Nell was pale with pride; 
My lord gazed long on pale Maude Clare
Or ever he kissed the bride.

“Lo, I have brought my gift, my lord, 
Have brought my gift, ” she said: 
To bless the hearth, to bless the board, 
To bless the marriage-bed.

“Here’s my half of the golden chain
You wore about your neck, 
That day we waded ankle-deep
For lilies in the beck: 

“Here’s my half of the faded leaves
We plucked from the budding bough, 
With feet amongst the lily leaves, -
The lilies are budding now.”

He strove to match her scorn with scorn, 
He faltered in his place: 
“Lady, ” he said, - “Maude Clare, ” he said, -
“Maude Clare, ” – and hid his face.

She turn’d to Nell: “My Lady Nell, 
I have a gift for you; 
Though, were it fruit, the blooms were gone, 
Or, were it flowers, the dew.

“Take my share of a fickle heart, 
Mine of a paltry love: 
Take it or leave it as you will, 
I wash my hands thereof.”

“And what you leave, ” said Nell, “I’ll take, 
And what you spurn, I’ll wear; 
For he’s my lord for better and worse, 
And him I love Maude Clare.

“Yea, though you’re taller by the head, 
More wise and much more fair: 
I’ll love him till he loves me best, 
Me best of all Maude Clare.