Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
The Rehearsal
(U.S., 1895)

I SIT here thinking, Will, of you,
  Of merry days gone by—
The old church, where oft we sang
  Together, you and I;
But thoughts of one rehearsal night        5
  Will constantly arise,
Till “I can read my title clear
    To mansions in the skies.”
I’m thinking of the rainy night—
  The rest had hurried home—        10
And we, in Deacon Foster’s pew,
  Were sitting all alone;
You were a “seeker” then, dear Will,
  But not of “things above”—
  “The length, the depth, the breadth, the heighth        15
    Of everlasting love.”
And I was on the “anxious” seat,
  Uncertain how to move,
Within thine arms of love embraced,
  Thy constancy to prove!        20
And oh! the promises you made—
  You were my own dear Will—
  “What peaceful hours I once enjoyed,
    How sweet their memory still.”
Oh! what sweet words of love you spoke,        25
  And kissed away the tear;
And how I trembled at the thought
  Lest someone should appear;
But when you turned the lights all out,
  To guard against surprise,        30
  “I bade farewell to every fear,
    And wiped my weeping eyes.”
I thought, could I these doubts remove,
  These gloomy doubts that rise,
“And see the Caanan that we love        35
  With unbeclouded eyes!”
And as you climbed the pulpit stairs,
  And viewed the landscape o’er,
  “Not Jordan’s stream, not death’s cold flood
    Could fright us from the floor.”        40
And when you fixed the cushions up,
  And I reclined at ease,
The pulpit pillow ’neath my head,
  And you on bended knees;
With your warm kisses on my lips,        45
  How could I stay your hand;
  “The veil was lifted, and by faith,
    You viewed the promised land.”
And oh! what rapturous feelings
  Thrilled every nerve, and when        50
I cried, “Oh! Lord my heart is touched,”
  You shouted out “Amen.”
My very soul was all ablaze,
  I thought that I could see
  “The land of rest, the saints delight        55
    The heaven prepared for me.”
I thought “a charge to keep I have”
  With mingled fear and shame;
How anxiously I watched, dear Will,
  Till I came ’round again!        60
In my distress I vainly strove
  To check the welling tears
  “The precious blood poured freely forth
    And conquered all my fears.”
But that was many years ago,        65
  And I’ve no doubt that you
Remember still the rainy night
  In Deacon Foster’s pew!
But oh! my first “experience”
  Will ne’er forgotten be,        70
  “While down the stream of life we glide
    To our eternity.”
I’m married now, the gudeman thinks
  In me he has a prize;
Ah, me! “Where ignorance is bliss,        75
          ’Tis folly to be wise.”
Of you, dear Will, he nothing knows
  And so my heart’s at rest,
  “And not a wave of trouble rolls
    Across my peaceful breast.”        80

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