Alice Cary

April 26, 1820 - 1871


The Tryst

by Alice Cary

The moss is withered, the moss is brown
Under the dreary cedarn bowers,
And fleet winds running the valleys down
Cover with dead leaves the sleeping flowers.

White as a lily the moonlight lies
Under the gray oak's ample boughs;
In the time of June 'twere a paradise
For gentle lovers to make their vows.

In the middle of night when the wolf is dumb,
Like a sweet star rising out of the sea,
They say that a damsel at times will come,
And brighten the chilly light under the tree.

And a blessed angel from out the sky
Cometh her lonely watch to requite;
But not for my soul's sweet sake would I
Pray under its shadow alone at night.

A boy by the tarn on the mountain side
Was cruelly murdered long ago,
Where oft a spectre is seen to glide
And wander wearily to and fro.

The night was sweet like an April night,
When misty softness the blue air fills,
And the freckled adder's tongue makes bright
The sleepy hollows among the hills.

When, startled up from the hush that broods
Beauteously o'er the midnight time,
The gust ran wailing along the woods
Like one who seeth an awful crime.

The tree is withered, the tree is lost,
Where he gathered the ashen berries red,
As meekly the dismal woods he crossed --
The tree is withered, the boy is dead.

Now nightly, with footsteps slow and soft,
A damsel goes thither, but not in joy;
Put thy arms round her, good angel aloft,
If she be the love of the murdered boy.

For still she comes, as the daylight fades,
Her tryst to keep near the cedarn bowers.
Bear with her gently, tenderly maids,
Whose hopes are open like summer flowers.


Copyright 1855
Boston: Ticknor And Fields