by Robert Louis Stevenson

We are as maidens one and all,
In some shut convent place,
Pleased with the flowers, the service bells,
The cloister’s shady grace,

That whiles, with fearful, fluttering hearts,
Look outward thro’ the grate
And down the long white road, up which,
Some morning, soon or late,

Shall canter on his great grey horse
That splendid acred Lord
Who comes to lead us forth – his wife,
But half with our accord.

With fearful, fluttered hearts we wait –
We meet him, bathed in tears;
We are so loath to leave behind
Those tranquil convent years;

So loath to meet the pang, to take
(On some poor chance of bliss)
Life’s labour on the windy sea
For a bower as still as this.

Weeping, we mount the crowded aisle,
And weeping after us
The bridesmaids follow – Come to me!
I will not meet you thus,

Pale rider to the convent gate.
Come, O rough bridegroom, Death,
Where, bashful bride, I wait you, veiled,
Flush-faced, with shaken breath;

I do not fear your kiss. I dream
New days, secure from strife,
And, bride-like, in the future hope –
A quiet household life.