Jack’s Story

(I in no way own the above Image. I found said image on the internet and therefore all rights belong to its creator/owner etc.)

I have met a lot of people over the years, some were lovely, some were hurting and some…well… we won’t mention them. Though the COVID-19 virus has wreaked utter havoc in our lives it also has, dare I say have had positive after-effects.  Now, I am in no sense suggesting that the virus itself is a good thing, but merely that it has forced individuals to take this time to reflect. Perhaps it has made them face fears that they have been avoiding for a long time.  For my friend, Jack it has been exactly that, a time of bitter reflection.  Jack is now an elderly gentleman whom and I met as a child and we became fast friends. I never understood why Jack, a well-natured man with a hardy laugh and good sense of humor, was always alone, never married but yet longed for companionship.  I never knew that is until quarantine disrupted our lives.

Mid-way through the initial outbreak of COVID-19 he called the house to make sure that his “family” was doing well.  I was the only one home at the time and we began our customary chitchat until Jack broke down in tears. His voice was full of bitter regret.  I am going to tell you his tale now because he asked me to.

I will attempt to tell his story as close to his own words as possible.  He wanted this to serve as a warning to others, for as he says, “…the way I lived my life was no life at all.” So without further ado, this is Jack’s story.

It was the summer of 1960, “Cathy’s Clown” by The Everly Brothers was at the top of the charts and Jack was celebrating his 30th birthday.  While most young Bachelor’s his age typically went out to celebrate on their birthday’s Jack was hard at work.  My dear friend was to put it simply was a workaholic and was married to his job. On the eve of his birthday, a co-worker convinced him to “come out for a drink”, which Jack did so reluctantly.  As Jack’s co-worker prattled on about the cutie, Susan in Accounting, Jack’s mind wandered back to the stack of papers that he left on his desk. Jack began to nervously sweat as he thought about what his boss would say when he saw those papers. Jack was now looking at his watch nervously, desperately trying to think of a way to leave. As his eyes darted about the room they landed on “her”.  The “most beautiful creature he ever saw”.  Her golden hair was glistening in the few rays of sunlight that were still casting their glow through the open window. She noticed him as well. “Jack!” she called, waving and smiling as she did so. Jack was stunned for a moment, wondering whom this, to use his own words, “this beautiful creature, this goddess was.”

As she approached him, he realized instantly who she was, Ruby.  Dear, sweet, little, Ruby, he was always pulling her pigtails in grammar school. She had moved away during their last year of high school, but she recently moved back to town.  He was smitten with her then and he was smitten with her now.  He could live for days off of her smile alone. He chatted with Ruby for the rest of the evening and walked her home. The days, weeks, even a month went by and he couldn’t get the sweet Ruby off his mind. So, taking the slip of paper with the phone number that she pressed into his hand the night he walked her home, he decided to call her.  Jack asked her for a date that night and after that, they talked nearly every day.

However, as I stated earlier, Jack was a workaholic and he slowly started to distance himself from Ruby as he felt that though he loved her, he could not make the time for her.  Then his father fell ill. Now, before I continue with this story it must be understood that Jack is indeed a well-meaning man with a good kind heart, but he was a very private man.  Jack was in love before Ruby by a woman who cheated and manipulated him and now he was terribly afraid that if he got close to Ruby that she would do the same thing. So, Jack before he even gave Ruby a chance shut her out.

He pushed her away when all she wanted to do was be close to him, help him, and love him in return. To make matters worse he never even explained to her why he was so purposely ignoring her. Ruby tried to be patient, tried to be kind, but after constant rejection, she finally gave up and left without a word. Jack never saw her again.  He tried years later after his crisis had passed to reach out to her but it was too late. Ruby had moved on, married someone else, and started a family. Though she admitted she would never forget Jack she was too hurt to have tried to stay. Jack threw himself into his work even harder achieving great financial success, won awards at work, and even became CEO of his company, but he was never truly happy. When Ruby left she took his heart and years later when he read of her passing the little that was left of his heart died with her.

I naturally by the end of this story was sobbing on the other end of the phone. Jack concluded his story with a moral, as he usually does.  He said to me “Now see hear young lady, I’m telling you this story not to make you sad, but so you know not to be an old fool like me.  I don’t want you to lose out on the most important person in your life because you are too afraid to let them in and too busy with his career.  I want you to tell my story the best you can in your words so others may hear it too.  Here it took a virus to make me realize what a fool I have truly been all these years.” With that, Jack gave his signature chuckle and hung up the phone.

This time of quarantine across the globe has been for many a time of reflection.  I hope that you have time to fix what is broken; to let someone new into your heart so you may heal and learn that no matter what the circumstance is there is someone who cares. Please do not be like Jack and push them away for they may be the remedy you need.

Until next time when I return to more storytelling, I remain respectfully,

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

Inspiration

(I in no way own the above image I found it on the Internet. All credit goes to the owner.)

Dear Reader,

Forgive me for being remiss in bringing you any new stories. The truth is I have been overtaxed and have been feeling completely dry in spinning new yarns. So, I did what anyone does in the face of such adversity, I Google-ed.  However, searching for inspiration through the pathways of the Internet also proved fruitless.   I then reached out to a very special person who provided me all the inspiration that I needed.

Tonight instead of telling you a standard story, I am going to provide you with two Voiceovers that my sister created with me.  She wrote said stories and I performed them. To give you a brief overview, I am presenting two stories about my grandmothers, and what their lives were like as immigrants in America. I must admit that my accent for my one grandmother isn’t as accurate as the other reading.  I hope they do their stories justice and my performance doesn’t lack in its execution. 

Thank you for inspiring me and helping me.

Without further ado:

https://soundcloud.com/jasmin_mitchell/7brick-makers-daughter-81516-1021-am?fbclid=IwAR3f6EJU83oG15IvgsDsasy1YQORXhFSj4m1HKrjNFXSJqHQzRI0B3eEUa4

https://soundcloud.com/jasmin_mitchell/2cathrine-81116-1144-am?fbclid=IwAR3nQ4L6mBPNcXPStYOl0gv9WMOQidwhic0wxVu-8SDTaMd2QCWwWIMpVbk

Until next time when I return with more Storytelling, I remain as as always, respectfully,

~Cheyenne E. Mitchell

“Unmoved”

(I in no way own the above image all credit belongs to the artist. “Miranda – The Tempest” ~ Painting by John William Waterhouse Circa: 1916)

Unmoved from your hollowed shell;

Does your soul awaken from its agitated slumber?

Not you, your spirit torched, calling to be released

The joy in seeing your essence exiting from its hollowed shell;

Unearthly force as if by magic you begin to show yourself.

Is it the moonshine that begins stirring?  

The night’s light but shines only once before Helios’ chariot brings the

dawn;

Fragrant nightshades beckoning with their pungent smells

You pay them no heed;

Instead, you retreat further and further still until you are but a tiny spec,

Come back.

Retreat no further,

I implore you.

But you hear me not.

Soon you leave and I question;

Do you deceive my senses?

Oh speak melodious bird that hides beneath the shadows of eve;

Retreat no further,

I implore you.

But you hear me not.

The joy of seeing your spirit dance beneath the moonlit light,

My heart oh my heart yearns to speak but is muffled by your silence.

Retreat no further,

I implore you.

But you hear me not.

By: Cheyenne E. Mitchell

Spring 1997

(I in no way own the above image. I found it on the internet all credit belongs to the owner)

It was the late spring of 1997, I was in the third grade and “MMMBop” was at the top of the charts.  I laid outside in my backyard rocking my red heart sunglasses, “Little Mermaid” t-shirt, white shorts, with matching white lacy ankle socks and a pair of black patent leather Mary Jane’s, while, sitting on my red flannel sheet.  I was the eight-year-old queen of the ’90s. I waited for my sister to bring her CD player/boom box and animal crackers outside to join me on my plaid paradise.

As I did so, I watched the clouds float overhead forming all sorts of shapes. She came outside with the aforementioned boom box, which thankfully, did not have the “MMMBop” single inside. Instead, we lay in our sea of plaid and listened to the melodic sounds of “Green Day”.

Some of the happiest times of my childhood were spent laying in the grass with my sister listening to music. On occasion, my sister’s friends, who followed her home, would come with her to pick me up from school. I was the only eight-year-old on the block with teenagers for friends. When you are eight-years-old and your sister is fourteen-years-old you naturally think her friends are your friends too. However, this also means that my friends thought that my big sister was their sister too.  This was not my favorite idea, as I did not like to share my sister. But that thought would quickly change after I met my friend Sarah. Sarah thought that my sister was the “coolest girl she ever met”. In truth, she loved my sister so much that she would introduce her to everyone as her sister! She also called my mom and dad her parents.   I never questioned why she would tell everyone that she was my sister that is until the end of the year dance. I put on my prettiest party dress and walked next door to see if my friend was ready to go. She was ready, but a little quiet.

At first, I just thought that her lack of excitement was an embarrassment from yesterday’s bicycle mishap. The day before Sarah had a little bit of an accident with my bicycle, she sped down the hill flipped over the handlebars, and scraped up both of her legs. Now she was just covered in Band-Aids. However, I found out that night that the Scooby-doo Band-Aids that now adorned her legs was not the cause of her upset.

While I sat inside with the rest of our friends eating donut holes, my poor friend Sarah sat outside on the steps sobbing. It wasn’t until I went outside to find her and bring her favorite chocolate doughnuts, covered in rainbow sprinkles, that I found out the truth. She was crying because she was going to be taken away from her mother and put into foster care.  Sarah then started sobbing that she wanted to kill herself and that she wanted my mother. This was the first time I ever saw the effects of abuse and though afraid, I knew I needed help. I promptly asked the nearest grown-up for a phone to call my mother.  When my mother arrived the little girl jumped into her arms and sobbed. She told my mother everything, how her mother used to beat her and leave her, and her sister for days when she was in a drunken state. Sarah was so jealous that I had “such a nice mom” that she would pretend to be apart of my family.

My parents tried to find out if we could take in the little girl and her sister, but it was too late. Relatives of the children came forward to take care of them.  Though she still longed for the love of her biological mother, her life seemed to improve. She found a place where she was loved and helped. I kept in contact with Sarah for many years but eventually, the phone calls and letters stopped coming.  I tried for years to find out what happened to her but I never could.

It is important to remember that serious problems affect us at any age, and though you may feel alone, there is someone there who cares.  Family isn’t only the family that you are born into, but the family that you create. My friend knew that not only myself, but also, my family cared about her. And I hope that no matter where she is right now, that she remembers our childhood together with my family as fond memories and knows that we still care.

I hope you enjoyed tonight’s tale of friendship.

Until next time when I return to more storytelling, I remain respectfully,

~Cheyenne E. Mitchell

Friends and Readers

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(I in no way own the above image.  I found it on the internet and all credit belongs to the owner.)

 

Dear Readers,

It has been some little time since I have addressed you all personally, and given the gravity of the world’s condition, I thought now would be a good time to do so. We as a community, a State, a Nation, and a World are indeed suffering hardships. There is an insurmountable amount of fear and trials ranging from illness to separation to the fear of permanently losing work etc. I know today may have been a particularly hard day, as most of us celebrated our mothers and loved ones, and maybe you could not physically be there for them.

I have no words for you my dear friends that can ease your pain, your fear, or your loneliness. The only thing I have to offer you now are my prayers, thoughts, and stories. Though I do not know many of you personally, I want you to know that I hope for blessings for every one of you who comes across these pages.

I leave you now with one of my favorite quotes that always uplift me when I’m feeling a bit gloomy in uncertain times.

“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ~ Roald Dahl

Until next time when I return to more Storytelling, I remain respectfully,

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

Stay?

 

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(I in no way own the above image, it was found on the internet. All credit belongs to the creator) 

Stay?

Plaguing my thoughts, so that I may not rest,

My sensibilities tell me to let you go,

While my heart entreats me stay.

What would you say?

Do you keep me here, trapped, within my thoughts with purpose?

Would you free me if you had no further use of me?

And what of Love?

Oh, Love,

Love, foreign and comforting word;

Wielding power to heal and bind,

Oh, if I could only cut these binds.

Will I ever be free again?

Taking refuge in nights of sleepless dreams

Longingly searching for peace,

No longer able to endure it …

Only you can free me,

With one word from your lips to bid me stay,

Stay, How I long for you to utter that little word, stay.

However, my mind insists I flea

And its haunting words begin its chants, let go, let go,

The words become a throbbing clamor,

Let go, let go…

Suddenly the words stop.

Your image warps and slips away,

Like ripples in a stream,

Waking to find you nothing but a dream.

 

By: Cheyenne E. Mitchell

Until next time when I return to more storytelling, I remain yours, respectfully.

 

Trust

pexels-photo-316889

(I in no way own the above photo. I found it on the Internet, all credit belongs to the artist)

 

There is something beautiful in the silence of the morning. Nothing but the sounds of the river hitting the shores as the morning doves coo in the distance. The tranquility of simply being; it is rare to find this stillness. She sat for quite sometime undisturbed by anything around her. Feeling the cool air wash over her face letting go of her cares as she sipped her coffee.

As of late her cares have been many, she felt used. It wasn’t often that she allowed herself to feel so affected by the actions of others.

This, however, could not be helped.

Her mind began to wander from the little robin who she watched intently pulling a worm from the ground and back to her troubling thoughts.

Thoughts often intensify when left alone too long to dwell on them. This was the case now as tears began to well in the eyes of our protagonist. She did not hear the crunching of the red and golden autumn leaves behind her or the big “hello” from the bright-eyed curly-haired chap. Realizing that she was oblivious to his presence he tipped toed closer to her and grabbed her about the shoulders. At this, she screamed and jumped spilling her coffee as she did so. After a brief acknowledgment of each other’s presence on the park bench, our curly-haired friend who we shall call, James, studied the face of his new companion. He noted that she had been crying. “Hey, what’s wrong with you?” James asked. All she replied was “nothing”.   She hadn’t known James long and did not feel as though she could confide in him. What if he too was cruel to her? Try as she might James would not let her change the subject. He was relentless to find out what was wrong.

After a moment of trying to think of a way to tell her friend what was on her mind without being direct, she simply answered, “Trust”. “My trust was broken and I am having a hard time accepting that. What do you do when you value trust highly and someone not only breaks it but also does so in a way that it cannot be repaired? Will you continually feel mistrustful of others who come in your path? You see I am afraid to let anyone else in, so I am trying to put up a wall so I won’t be hurt again. However, it is not working out that way. I can’t keep people out. I realize that not everyone is the same. I ask you though, how do you move forward?”

With this, she stopped speaking and looked to her friend, who was surprised by her outburst. He expected her to be thinking about something trivial. He had not yet come to know her well enough to know that she was harboring such thoughts.

James was quite undone; he didn’t know how to answer her. They sat together for a moment in silence and continued to watch the birds, who were still hunting for their breakfast. Clearing his throat, James looked at her apprehensively and said, “time, you need to give people time to prove themselves and proceed with caution.

You can’t look back at what happened, it’s over and done with. The only thing you can do is take the lesson from it and keep moving. Do you see that flower over there? How do you know that after it ‘dies’ from the winter frost that it will spring back to life in the spring? Does it speak to you and say ‘hey don’t worry I am coming back and I am going to be even better than this year?’ no of course not, but you know that it is coming back. You trust the flower to know what it needs to do, so you need to trust yourself that you will know what to do as well.

Trust yourself and once you do, you will be able to trust others again.”

She smiled at him through her tears as she mulled over his words. Turning again they both sat back on the park bench and listened to the sounds of the river hitting the shores as the morning doves coo in the distance.

 

I hope you like tonight’s tale. I hope you can find some trust, hope, and faith during these trying times. Though everything seems bleak right now there is hope. Just like that little flower that keeps coming back year after year, stronger and stronger so will each of you.

 

Until next time when I return with more storytelling,

I remain respectfully,

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

 

The Promise

1814_lady_bagot_lady_fitz-2

(I in no way own the above image I found it on the internet- I understand it to be a Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1814. Lady Bagot, Lady Fitzroy Somerset (later Lady Raglan), and Lady Burghersh (later Countess of Westmorland), all three nee Wellesley-Pole. Three nieces of the Duke of Wellington in fashionable gowns. – http://numberonelondon.net/2014/01/fashions-of-1814/)  

 

What does it mean to make a promise? It is a vow, a solemn oath that binds your words into actions. However, must you keep these promises, and how far must you go to keep them? I have been reflecting on this question quite a lot lately as I have discovered many broken vows. During my reflections, I am reminded of a story that my grandmother once told me on just this subject. Please bear with me as I attempt to relay it to you now. It is called “The Promise”. Not a very clever title, I know, but it’s the only one I have. The story as I recall was set in an unnamed town in France about fifteen years after their revolution ended. As such I will attempt to relay this story in terms most closely associated with this period of time.

There were once two girls who were as close as two friends could be. One was called Adélaïde the other, Colette. They did everything together; they went to school, parties, they went to church together, picked flowers in the meadow together and swore that as they grew they would never be separated. Well, the girls did grow into fine and respectable ladies, always keeping their promise that they would do everything together. That is until fate would separate them. The town where the girls grew up was very poor, famine and illness struck their home and it became a necessity for the girls to part and find work elsewhere. So, they made each other another promise, that they would find a way to meet again one day, and if that if one ever needed the other they would find a way to come to each other’s aid. So, it was agreed upon and they separated. Adélaïde went to the North and Colette to the South.

Adélaïde found work as a dressmaker. Her work was intricate and delicately crafted that the fine and very fashionable ladies in Town soon noticed her. Things could not have been better for our noble Adélaïde. She was wise, smart and held an air of grace and elegance, so when a wealthy Lawyer noticed her, it was very little wonder to anyone that they quickly married. Adélaïde’s position in society rose to a great height and many respected and revered her as a great lady.

Colette, ah our dear Colette what could be said of her? She did not have an easy time finding work. She did not contain any particular talent for sewing, nor teaching, nor painting any of the delicate qualities that a lady of her time was expected to possess. However, she was quite beautiful, sharped tongued, and humorous. She too caught the eye of a gentleman who sought her hand in marriage. She agreed and married him. Now, the city in which Colette settled held some very sinister citizens. There were “ladies of the night”, thieves, swindlers and other typical creatures of the underworld that you would find in any depraved city. There was one such swindler that bore a striking resemblance to our dear, outspoken, Colette. They resembled one another so much so that if it was not for their clothes and general hygiene; you would not be able to distinguish one from the other. We shall call this particular swindler Mallory.

Mallory was hard of spirit, feeling that the lot she drew in life was unjustified and unfair. She thought nothing of how her selfish acts affected others. She robbed, connived, and manipulated every situation to suit her own needs. Though she was fully aware of what she did and how it affected others, she firmly believed without a doubt in her heart that she was blameless. “I do nothing wrong,” she told everyone she met “It is you who twists and turn my words to make yourselves appear better than I”. Mallory was not always the degenerate she now shows herself to be. She came from a good home and was quite well off, financially. She possessed selfish disdain for the feelings of others. When the revolution began her father lost everything he owned and the family was divided and Mallory was forced to work. However, this loss of wealth and feelings that she was greater than all embittered her heart and instead of trying to become a governess, which was considered a respectable profession, or learning a trade. She decided to steal back what she lost and what she thought was owed her.

Now it came to pass that Mallory noticed Colette and envied her. Mallory’s jealousy soon consumed her and she plotted to take away everything Colette owned so she could take her place. “What better way to do it then to take her identity,” thought Mallory? Her evil plan was hatched. She began by dressing and washing and arranging her hair as Colette did. If Colette’s husband were seen walking through town, Mallory would quietly walk close behind him, so she was just out of view but close enough so that others thought they were together.

Mallory would then begin to shoplift while disguised as Colette making sure someone would catch her. She began starting fights in the streets claiming to be Colette. Then Mallory committed the ultimate crime. She plotted and staged a brutal murder. It was a man whom she saw Colette speaking within one of the shops she frequented. On the last occasion, she saw them having a bit of an argument. “Perfect,” thought Mallory “I will make him my victim everyone saw them argue which provides motive now I must make sure I have plenty of witnesses”. So she carried out her evil plan and left a confession note at the scene and signing it as Colette to insure her arrest.

The Police went to Colette’s house and quickly took her into custody. Everything seemed to be against her. News of the arrest now reached Adélaïde ears. She was horrified and in disbelief that her friend could commit such a crime. However, not even Adélaïde could deny the resemblance between the murderer and her dearest friend. As I mentioned earlier Adélaïde had now become a powerful and wealthy woman and any involvement in her friend’s life, surely meant disgrace, and ruin for her own life. She was in torment over the promise she made to her friend and bringing disgrace upon her family. Honor and nobility meant the world to Adélaïde. But is there any honor in keeping quiet when your friend is in need? Is there nobility in not ascertaining the truth? Could she not keep her promise when her friend may be executed for a crime she didn’t commit? Adélaïde thought and felt terrified for her friend as the damming evidence was against her innocent friend. As expected Colette was tried and convicted. Then came the day of execution for poor Colette. Colette was a broken individual, terrified and alone. Her husband was screaming her name tearfully as they marched her to the gallows. In all of this Colette thought her friend abandoned her; that Adélaïde simply ignored her urgent pleas for help. It wasn’t until the last second when Adélaïde came screaming and pushing through the crowds pulling behind her bound and gagged Mallory as her evidence, that Colette knew that her friend didn’t abandon her. They forced a confession from Mallory and pulled from the gallows a sobbing and relieved Colette.

The girls embraced promising not to be separated again. What of Mallory? Well, naturally she was tried and convicted. However, what Mallory would never know is that her family was trying to find her to tell her that all was restored and to come home. She didn’t once open their letters; instead of through them away vowing never to speak to them again as her bitterness consumed her.

Whom will you be? Will you be an Adélaïde and Colette who didn’t allow status and fear to overcome their lives and keep your promises no matter how impossible it may seem? Or will you be a Mallory who only cares about herself and who missed out on the joys of friendships, the reuniting of a family because she allowed anger and bitterness to blacken her heart?

This may have been a bit of a dark story for my grandmother to tell me as a child, but I felt it was a poignant one. I always try to keep this story in mind when I feel lost or alone. I pray that no one’s heart becomes as black as Mallory’s.

I hope you enjoyed tonight’s story.

Until next time when I return to more storytelling, I remain respectfully,

~ Cheyenne E. Mitchell

The Song

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(I in no way own the above image I found it on the internet)

It kisses the earth with its breath,

Its soft, liquid breath, giving life with each sound, touch;

It drips and steams, pours and flows,

Coursing through each meadow and stream making its ways through every vein;

Ah, to feel its cool and refreshing shower of due

It carries a song,

The bluebird catching the damped breath in its throat, its feathers;

he Joyously bathes in it,

The rush of white noise is now in the beak of the little bird as it

Carries the ditty with glee piercing the air.

It’s song awakening every sense and creature,

These voices are now but one melodic beauty.

What glorious sounds,

Greater still is the bearer of such songs, which cause the trees, grass

And flowers to sway;

Their voices are lifted, joining in song and carrying this symphony upwards until it

Grasps the very heavens.

More joyous praises could not be heard;

Hearing its cool and refreshing refrain restores my soul,

For that instant, I, too am carried upward toward the heavens;

Here, I drink in that unspeakable joy and feel the warmth of the melody upon my cheek.

Then as suddenly as the song did rise it stops, and

The air fills with silence.

Once more I am moved, as I lower to earth.

My soul first feels the pang of the tune as it slowly drains from me and,

Each notes fading from my mind;

I feel not its loss as the symphony breathes its last breath,

The melodic notes have filled my being wondrously long.

Renewed, and still, I wait for the new song to arise as the old one withers away.

I wait, wondrously, still.

 

By: Cheyenne E. Mitchell

 

I hope you liked tonights poem.

Until Next time when we continue with more storytelling I remain respectfully,

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

New Years!

I hope everyone had a wonderful safe New Year!  I look forward to bringing you new stories and poems in this coming year.  For now, I will leave you with one of my favorite poems by John Keats. Please enjoy.

 ~ Cheyenne E. Mitchell

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art”~ BY JOHN KEATS

 

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art— 

         Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night 

And watching, with eternal lids apart, 

         Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite, 

The moving waters at their priestlike task 

         Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores, 

Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask 

         Of snow upon the mountains and the moors— 

No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, 

         Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast, 

To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, 

         Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, 

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, 

And so live ever—or else swoon to death.