I LIKE that ring, that ancient ring,
Of massive form, and virgin gold,
As firm, as free from base alloy,
As were the sterling hearts of old.
I like it, for it wafts me back,
Far, far along the stream of time,
To other men, and other days,
To men and days, of deeds sublime.
But most I like it, as it tells
The tale of well-requited love;
How youthful fondness persevered,
And youthful faith disdained to rove.
How warmly he his suit preferred,
Though she, unpitying, long denied;
Till, softened and subdued at last,
He won his "fair and blooming bride."
How, till the appointed day arrived,
They blamed the lazy-footed hours;
How, then, the white robed maiden train,
Strewed their glad way, with freshest flowers;
And how, before the holy man,
They stood, in all their youthful pride,
And spoke those words, and vowed those vows,
Which bind the husband to his bride:
All this it tells; the plighted troth,
The gift of every earthly thing,
The hand in hand, the heart in heart;
For this, I like that ancient ring.
I like its old and quaint device;
"Two blended hearts,"--though time may wear them
No mortal change, no mortal chance,
"Till death," shall e'er in sunder tear them.
Year after year; 'neath sun and storm,
Their hopes in heaven, their trust in God,
In changeless, heartfelt, holy love,
These two the world's rough pathways trod.
Age might impair their youthful fires,
Their strength might fail, 'mid life's bleak weather,
Still hand in hand, they travelled on;
Kind souls! they slumber now together.
I like its simple poesy too
"Mine own dear love, this heart is thine!"
Thine, when the dark storm howls along,
As when the cloudless sunbeams shine.
"This heart is thine, mine own dear love!"
Thine, and thine only, and for ever;
Thine, till the springs of life shall fail,
Thine, till the cords of life shall sever.
Remnant of days departed long;
Emblem of plighted troth unbroken;
Pledge of devoted faithfulness;
Of heartfelt, holy love, the token;
What varied feelings, round it cling!
For these, I like that ancient ring.