Over the Rhineland border, ere it gleamed with sword and lance,
Came a brave young German, wooing a dark-eyed maid of France;
And he pressed her slender fingers, lost in his stalwart hand,
Low whispering, "Come, love, go with me to my own Fatherland."
Then redder flushed her olive cheeks than grapes upon the vine,
Which (clear and pale), kissed by the sun, like clustered garnets shine,
As, pointing to an old château beside the rushing Loire,
She bowed her head upon his breast, and whispered, "Pas encore."
He raised her downcast face and said, "I have a home more fair,
Where thou shalt reign a very queen;" she faltered forth, "Mon père?"
"Thou shalt return to him again: come, love. Je vous adore."
"Toujours le votre," then she cried, "tojours le meme--mais, pas encore!"
He kissed her lips, he kissed her brow, and from her lustrous eyes
He kissed the tears--warm tropic rain of Love's dark midnight skies!
Then turned and left her. Both were brave: their sorrow who can know?
The soldier gone to his Fatherland--the girl to that old château.
* * * * * * *
Over the Rhineland border, amid shot, and shell, and flame,
Through blood-red fields, where vultures swooped, once more the soldier came,
A sabre-cut across his brow--yet heedless of its smart,
He sought, through reeking ruins, for the darling of his heart.
The old château was desolate, the old French noble dead,
And to a convent's sheltering walls that lonely girl had fled.
He knelt and prayed her go with him beyond the blood-stained Loire.
Smiling, she said, "We should be foes," then, weeping, "Pas encore."
* * * * * * *
Over the Rhineland border, on a crimson battle-plain,
At last that dark-eyed maiden sought her lover 'mid the slain,
And 'mid the slain she found him, but her white hands stanched the gore
Upon his breast, while thus she prayed, "Bon Dieu, oh pas encore!"
Baptized in light, red battle-fields are starred with flowers again;
Baptized in joy, the heart may bloom; to rapture, sprung from pain.
And as the life-light glimmered in that soldier's eye once more,
When she whispered "Do not leave me,"he answered "Pas encore."