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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

The Flight from the Convent

By Theodore Tilton (1835–1907)

I SEE the star-lights quiver,

Like jewels in the river;

The bank is hid with sedge;

What if I slip the edge?

I thought I knew the way

By night as well as day:

How soon a lover goes astray!

The place is somewhat lonely—

I mean, for just one only,

I brought the boat ashore

An hour ago, or more.

Well, I will sit and wait;

She fixed the hour at eight:

Good angels! bring her not too late!

To-morrow’s tongues that name her

Will hardly dare to blame her:

A lily still is white

Through all the dark of night:

The morning sun shall show

A bride as pure as snow,

Whose wedding all the world shall know.

O God! that I should gain her!

But what can so detain her?

Hist, yelping cur! thy bark

Will fright her in the dark.

What! striking nine? that’s fast!

Is some one walking past?

Oho! so thou art come at last!

Now, why thy long delaying?

Alack! thy beads and praying!

If thou, a saint, dost hope

To kneel and kiss the Pope,

Then I, a sinner, know

Where sweeter kisses grow—

Nay, now, just once before we go!

Nay, twice, and by St. Peter

The second was the sweeter!

Quick, now, and in the boat!

Good-by, old tower and moat!

May mildew from the sky

Drop blindness on the eye

That lurks to watch our going by!

O saintly maid! I told thee

No convent walls should hold thee.

Look! yonder comes the moon!

We started not too soon.

See how we pass that mill!

What! is the night too chill?

Then I must fold thee closer still!