The Lonely Ride

Julia Stockton Dinsmore

Up, and away,
My filly gay,
I'll ride afar to-day,
While the sky is fine
And the air like wine
And the sunshine looks like May.

I turn aside
From the highway wide
And down the old road ride,
Where I used to go,
Long, long ago
With my sweetheart by my side.

Like a frost-scared rose
My pale cheek glows
As the scented south wind blows,
And my pulses fill
With a youthful thrill
So fast the filly goes.

On the rich lowland
In close rows stand
Like the tents of an Indian band;
The corn shocks brown,
And far adown,
There flows the river grand.

The sweet wild note
From the field lark's throat
The roving breezes float —
As swift I pass
By the glistening grass
Toward the blue-hill-line remote.

Here the squirrel fleet
With nimble feet,
Seeks his high and safe retreat,
In the woods ablaze
With a thousand rays
Where light and color meet.

For an instant brief
A falling leaf
Like the gold of a ripened sheaf,
Whirls by my face
With an airy grace
And the touch awakes my grief.

Autumn again —
Long years of pain
Have dragged their 'length'ning chain
Since gay and glad
Where one goes sad
There rode a happy twain.

My eyelids fill,
My heart stands still
And the tide of life runs chill;
As in a glass
The lost years pass,
And we ride as lovers will.

Again 'tis spring
And the bluebirds sing
And the redbirds' carols ring
As through the woods
Pale-green with buds
Our loping horses swing.

The air flies past
With fragrant blast
And we seem to fly as fast
Till with lips apart
And bounding heart
I draw the reins at last.

Our horses spent
His proud head bent
His hand on my pommel leant,
We rest by the stream
Where the ripples gleam
Thro' grass with flowers besprent.

As blue his eyes
As the violet's dyes,
And they look with glad surprise
On my blushing cheeks
As he softly speaks
A word of the love I prize.

Come back, come back
To thy lonely track,
Remember the storm and wrack;
No more for thee
Love's dreams may be
For love thou shalt always lack.

One sad spring day
He rode away
Proud in his brand-new gray;
And ere it was old
Lay stark and cold
In a lost field's fiercest fray.

My hopes are dead
As the leaves that spread
This carpet the wild things tread;
But heaven is blue
Tho' far off too
And ever hangs overhead.

Ah, never yet
Was saddle set
On horse could outride Regret!
Fly filly, fly,
For even the sky
Is dim to eyes that are wet.

Julia Stockton Dinsmore never married. She had a sweetheart, but it appears he was killed fighting for the Confederacy in his first battle during the American Civil War.