John Crowe Ransom

Emily Hardcastle, Spinster

We shall come tomorrow morning, who were not to have her love,   
We shall bring no face of envy but a gift of praise and lilies   
To the stately ceremonial we are not the heroes of.

Let the sisters now attend her, who are red-eyed, who are wroth;   
They were younger, she was finer, for they wearied of the waiting   
And they married them to merchants, being unbelievers both.

I was dapper when I dangled in my pepper-and-salt;   
We were only local beauties, and we beautifully trusted
If the proud one had to tarry, we would have her by default.

But right across her threshold has her grizzled Baron come;
Let them wrap her as a princess, who'd go softly down a stairway  
And seal her to the Stranger for his castle in the gloom.