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, one would have her by default.
But right across the threshold has her grizzled Baron come;
Let them robe her, Bride and Princess, who’ll go down a leafy archway
And seal her to the Stranger for his castle in the gloom.
John Crowe Ransom, “Emily Hardcastle, Spinster” from Selected Poems, Revised and Enlarged Edition. Copyright 1924, 1927, 1934, 1939, 1945, © 1962, 1963 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Source: Selected Poems
(Alfred A. Knopf, 1969)
Poems by John Crowe Ransom