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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

John Arthur Goodchild b. 1851

Schöne Rothraut

TAKE as gold this old tradition

Of the royal-rendered wage,

Guerdon of love’s mad ambition

In the true heart of a page.

He, his passion vainly hiding,

Worn and pale with hopeless pain,

Through the summer woods was riding

Close beside his mistress’ rein.

“Why so sad, my page?” and turning,

Gazed she straight into his eyes.

“T is thy thought my bosom burning

With a flame that never dies.”

Flushed she then, but answered, “Carest

Thou to feed the flame I bring?

Look me full, and if thou darest,

Kiss the daughter of the king.”

Stark he stood, all wonders mingling,

Then from heart to finger-tips

Rushed the heated life-blood tingling

As he seized upon her lips.

Crushing newborn awe with laughter,

Said she, “Thus must end thy pain;

See thou never more hereafter

Lookest for like grace again.”

Spake he glad: “Each leaf that glitters

In the sun thy gift hath seen;

Every bird that sings and twitters

Knoweth where my lips have been.

“And the winds from dawn to vesper,

Blow they north or blow they south,

Softly in my ear shall whisper,

‘Thou hast kissed Schöne Rothraut’s mouth.’

“Every floweret of the meadow,

Every bird upon the tree,

In life’s sunshine or its shadow,

Shall bring back my joy to me.”