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The Farewell

 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.

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