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The Home Book of Verse, Volume 4 by Burton Egbert Stevenson

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My Lesbia, I will not deny,
Bewitches me completely;
She has the usual beaming eye,
And smiles upon me sweetly:
But she has an unseemly way
Of contradicting what I say.

And, though I am her closest friend,
And find her fascinating,
I cannot cordially commend
Her method of debating:
Her logic, though she is divine,
Is singularly feminine.

Her reasoning is full of tricks,
And butterfly suggestions,
I know no point to which she sticks,
She begs the simplest questions;
And, when her premises are strong,
She always draws her inference wrong.

Broad, liberal views on men and things
She will not hear a word of;
To prove herself correct she brings
Some instance she has heard of;
The argument ad hominem
Appears her favorite strategem.

Old Socrates, with sage replies
To questions put to suit him,
Would not, I think, have looked so wise
With Lesbia to confute him;
He would more probably have bade
Xantippe hasten to his aid.

Ah! well, my fair philosopher,
With clear brown eyes that glisten
So sweetly, that I much prefer
To look at them than listen,
Preach me your sermon: have your way,
The voice is yours, whate'er you say.

Alfred Cochrane [1865-

(New Style)

Am I sincere? I say I dote
On everything that Browning wrote;
I know some bits by heart to quote:
But then She reads him.
I say - and is it strictly true? -
How I admire her cockatoo;
Well! in a way of course I do:
But then She feeds him.

And I become, at her command,
The sternest Tory in the land;
The Grand Old Man is far from grand;
But then She states it.
Nay! worse than that, I am so tame,
I once admitted - to my shame -
That football was a brutal game:
Because She hates it.

My taste in Art she hailed with groans,
And I, once charmed with bolder tones,
Now love the yellows of Burne-Jones:
But then She likes them.
My tuneful soul no longer hoards
Stray jewels from the Empire boards;
I revel now in Dvorak's chords:
But then She strikes them.

Our age distinctly cramps a knight;
Yet, though debarred from tilt and fight,
I can admit that black is white,
If She asserts it.
Heroes of old were luckier men
Than I - I venture now and then
To hint - retracting meekly when
She controverts it.

Alfred Cochrane [1865-


The days of Bute and Grafton's fame,
Of Chatham's waning prime,
First heard your sounding gong proclaim
Its chronicle of Time;
Old days when Dodd confessed his guilt,
When Goldsmith drave his quill,
And genial gossip Horace built
His house on Strawberry Hill.

Now with a grave unmeaning face
You still repeat the tale,
High-towering in your somber case,
Designed by Chippendale;
Without regret for what is gone,
You bid old customs change,
As year by year you travel on
To scenes and voices strange.

We might have mingled with the crowd
Of courtiers in this hall,
The fans that swayed, the wigs that bowed,
But you have spoiled it all;
We might have lingered in the train
Of nymphs that Reynolds drew,
Or stared spell-bound in Drury Lane
At Garrick - but for you.

We might in Leicester Fields have swelled
The throng of beaux and cits,
Or listened to the concourse held
Among the Kitcat wits;
Have strolled with Selwyn in Pall Mall,
Arrayed in gorgeous silks,
Or in Great George Street raised a yell
For Liberty and Wilkes.

This is the life which you have known,
Which you have ticked away,
In one unmoved unfaltering tone
That ceased not day by day,
While ever round your dial moved
Your hands from span to span,
Through drowsy hours and hours that proved
Big with the fate of man.

A steady tick for fatal creeds,
For youth on folly bent,
A steady tick for worthy deeds,
And moments wisely spent;
No warning note of emphasis,
No whisper of advice,
To ruined rake or flippant miss,
For coquetry or dice.

You might, I think, have hammered out
With meaning doubly dear,
The midnight of a Vauxhall rout
In Evelina's ear;
Or when the night was almost gone,
You might, the deals between,
Have startled those who looked upon
The cloth when it was green.

But no, in all the vanished years
Down which your wheels have run,
Your message borne to heedless ears
Is one and only one -
No wit of men, no power of kings,
Can stem the overthrow
Wrought by this pendulum that swings
Sedately to and fro.

Alfred Cochrane [1865-


In sunny girlhood's vernal life
She caused no small sensation,
But now the modest English wife
To others leaves flirtation.
She's young still, lovely, debonair,
Although sometimes her features
Are clouded by a thought of care
For those two tiny creatures.

Each tiny, toddling, mottled mite
Asserts with voice emphatic,
In lisping accents, "Mite is right,"
Their rule is autocratic:
The song becomes, that charmed mankind,
Their musical narcotic,
And baby lips than Love, she'll find,
Are even more despotic.

Soft lullaby when singing there,
And castles ever building,
Their destiny she'll carve in air,
Bright with maternal gilding:
Young Guy, a clever advocate,
So eloquent and able!
A powdered wig upon his pate,
A coronet for Mabel!

Joseph Ashby-Sterry [1838-1917]


Old Books are best! With what delight
Does "Faithorne fecit" greet our sight
On frontispiece or title-page
Of that old time, when on the stage
"Sweet Nell" set "Rowley's" heart alight!

And you, O Friend, to whom I write,
Must not deny, e'en though you might,
Through fear of modern pirates' rage,
Old Books are best.

What though the print be not so bright,
The paper dark, the binding slight?
Our author, be he dull or sage,
Returning from that distant age
So lives again, we say of right:
Old Books are best.

Beverly Chew [1850-1924]


In these restrained and careful times
Our knowledge petrifies our rhymes;
Ah! for that reckless fire men had
When it was witty to be mad;

When wild conceits were piled in scores,
And lit by flaming metaphors,
When all was crazed and out of tune, -
Yet throbbed with music of the moon.

If we could dare to write as ill
As some whose voices haunt us still,
Even we, perchance, might call our own
Their deep enchanting undertone.

We are too diffident and nice,
Too learned and too over-wise,
Too much afraid of faults to be
The flutes of bold sincerity.

For, as this sweet life passes by,
We blink and nod with critic eye;
We've no words rude enough to give
Its charm so frank and fugitive.

The green and scarlet of the Park,
The undulating streets at dark,
The brown smoke blown across the blue,
This colored city we walk through; -

The pallid faces full of pain,
The field-smell of the passing wain,
The laughter, longing, perfume, strife,
The daily spectacle of life; -

Ah! how shall this be given to rhyme,
By rhymesters of a knowing time?
Ah! for the age when verse was clad,
Being godlike, to be bad and mad.

Edmund Gosse [1849-1928]


With strawberries we filled a tray,
And then we drove away, away
Along the links beside the sea,
Where wave and wind were light and free,
And August felt as fresh as May,

And where the springy turf was gay
With thyme and balm and many a spray
Of wild roses, you tempted me
With strawberries!

A shadowy sail, silent and gray,
Stole like a ghost across the bay;
But none could hear me ask my fee,
And none could know what came to be.
Can sweethearts all their thirst allay
With strawberries?

William Ernest Henley [1849-1903]


Brown's for Lalage, Jones for Lelia,
Robinson's bosom for Beatrice glows,
Smith is a Hamlet before Ophelia.
The glamor stays if the reason goes!
Every lover the years disclose
Is of a beautiful name made free.
One befriends, and all others are foes.
Anna's the name of names for me.

Sentiment hallows the vowels of Delia;
Sweet simplicity breathes from Rose;
Courtly memories glitter in Celia;
Rosalind savors of quips and hose,
Araminta of wits and beaux,
Prue of puddings, and Coralie
All of sawdust and spangled shows;
Anna's the name of names for me.

Fie upon Caroline, Madge, Amelia -
These I reckon the essence of prose! -
Cavalier Katherine, cold Cornelia,
Portia's masterful Roman nose,
Maud's magnificence, Totty's toes,
Poll and Bet with their twang of the sea,
Nell's impertinence, Pamela's woes!
Anna's the name of names for me.

Ruth like a gillyflower smells and blows,
Sylvia prattles of Arcadee,
Sybil mystifies, Connie crows,
Anna's the name of names for me!

William Ernest Henley [1849-1903]


Tiny slippers of gold and green,
Tied with a mouldering golden cord!
What pretty feet they must have been
When Caesar Augustus was Egypt's lord!
Somebody graceful and fair you were!
Not many girls could dance in these!
When did your shoemaker make you, dear,
Such a nice pair of Egyptian "threes"?

Where were you measured? In Sais, or On,
Memphis, or Thebes, or Pelusium?
Fitting them neatly your brown toes upon,
Lacing them deftly with finger and thumb,
I seem to see you! - so long ago,
Twenty-one centuries, less or more!
And here are your sandals: yet none of us know
What name, or fortune, or face you bore.

Your lips would have laughed, with a rosy scorn,
If the merchant, or slave-girl, had mockingly said,
"The feet will pass, but the shoes they have worn
Two thousand years onward Time's road shall tread,
And still be footgear as good as new!"
To think that calf-skin, gilded and stitched,
Should Rome and the Pharaohs outlive - and you
Be gone, like a dream, from the world you bewitched!

Not that we mourn you! 'Twere too absurd!
You have been such a very long while away!
Your dry spiced dust would not value one word
Of the soft regrets that my verse could say.
Sorrow and Pleasure, and Love and Hate,
If you ever felt them, have vaporized hence
To this odor - so subtle and delicate -
Of myrrh, and cassia, and frankincense.

Of course they embalmed you! Yet not so sweet
Were aloes and nard, as the youthful glow
Which Amenti stole when the small dark feet
Wearied of treading our world below.
Look! it was flood-time in valley of Nile,
Or a very wet day in the Delta, dear!
When your slippers tripped lightly their latest mile -
The mud on the soles renders that fact clear.

You knew Cleopatra, no doubt! You saw
Antony's galleys from Actium come.
But there! if questions could answers draw
From lips so many a long age dumb,
I would not tease you with history,
Nor vex your heart for the men that were;
The one point to learn that would fascinate me
Is, where and what are you to-day, my dear!

You died, believing in Horus and Pasht,
Isis, Osiris, and priestly lore;
And found, of course, such theories smashed
By actual fact on the heavenly shore.
What next did you do? Did you transmigrate?
Have we seen you since, all modern and fresh?
Your charming soul - so I calculate -
Mislaid its mummy, and sought new flesh.

Were you she whom I met at dinner last week,
With eyes and hair of the Ptolemy black,
Who still of this find in Fayoum would speak,
And to Pharaohs and scarabs still carry us back?
A scent of lotus about her hung,
And she had such a far-away wistful air
As of somebody born when the Earth was young;
And she wore of gilt slippers a lovely pair.

Perchance you were married? These might have been
Part of your trousseau - the wedding shoes;
And you laid them aside with the garments green,
And painted clay Gods which a bride would use;
And, may be, to-day, by Nile's bright waters
Damsels of Egypt in gowns of blue -
Great-great-great - very great - grand-daughters
Owe their shapely insteps to you!

But vainly I beat at the bars of the Past,
Little green slippers with golden strings!
For all you can tell is that leather will last
When loves, and delightings, and beautiful things
Have vanished; forgotten - No! not quite that!
I catch some gleam of the grace you wore
When you finished with Life's daily pit-a-pat,
And left your shoes at Death's bedroom door.

You were born in the Egypt which did not doubt;
You were never sad with our new-fashioned sorrows:
You were sure, when your play-days on Earth ran out,
Of play-times to come, as we of our morrows!
Oh, wise little Maid of the Delta! I lay
Your shoes in your mummy-chest back again,
And wish that one game we might merrily play
At "Hunt the Slippers" - to see it all plain.

Edwin Arnold [1832-1904]


My coachman, in the moonlight there,
Looks through the side-light of the door;
I hear him with his brethren swear,
As I could do, - but only more.

Flattening his nose against the pane,
He envies me my brilliant lot,
Breathes on his aching fists in vain,
And dooms me to a place more hot.

He sees me in to supper go,
A silken wonder by my side,
Bare arms, bare shoulders, and a row
Of flounces, for the door too wide.

He thinks how happy is my arm
'Neath its white-gloved and jewelled load;
And wishes me some dreadful harm,
Hearing the merry corks explode.

Meanwhile I inly curse the bore
Of hunting still the same old coon,
And envy him, outside the door,
In golden quiets of the moon.

The winter wind is not so cold
As the bright smile he sees me win
Nor the host's oldest wine so old
As our poor gabble sour and thin.

I envy him the ungyved prance
With which his freezing feet he warms,
And drag my lady's-chains and dance
The galley-slave of dreary forms.

Oh, could, he have my share of din,
And I his quiet! - past a doubt
'Twould still be one man bored within,
And just another bored without.

Nay, when, once paid my mortal fee,
Some idler on my headstone grim
Traces the moss-blurred name, will he
Think me the happier, or I him?

James Russell Lowell [1819-1891]


She was a beauty in the days
When Madison was President,
And quite coquettish in her ways, -
On conquests of the heart intent.

Grandpapa, on his right knee bent,
Wooed her in stiff, old-fashioned phrase, -
She was a beauty in the days
When Madison was President.

And when your roses where hers went
Shall go, my Rose, who date from Hayes,
I hope you'll wear her sweet content
Of whom tradition lightly says:
She was a beauty in the days
When Madison was President.

Henry Cuyler Bunner [1855-1896]


Glass antique, 'twixt thee and Nell
Draw we here a parallel.
She, like thee, was forced to bear
All reflections, foul or fair.
Thou art deep and bright within,
Depths as bright belonged to Gwynne;
Thou art very frail as well,
Frail as flesh is, - so was Nell.

Thou, her glass, art silver-lined,
She too, had a silver mind:
Thine is fresh till this far day,
Hers till death ne'er wore away:
Thou dost to thy surface win
Wandering glances, so did Gwynne;
Eyes on thee love long to dwell,
So men's eyes would do on Nell.

Life-like forms in thee are sought,
Such the forms the actress wrought;
Truth unfailing rests in you,
Nell, whate'er she was, was true.
Clear as virtue, dull as sin,
Thou art oft, as oft was Gwynne;
Breathe on thee, and drops will swell:
Bright tears dimmed the eyes of Nell.

Thine's a frame to charm the sight,
Framed was she to give delight;
Waxen forms here truly show
Charles above and Nell below;
But between them, chin with chin,
Stuart stands as low as Gwynne, -
Paired, yet parted, - meant to tell
Charles was opposite to Nell.

Round the glass wherein her face
Smiled so soft, her "arms" we trace;
Thou, her mirror, hast the pair,
Lion here, and leopard there.
She had part in these, - akin
To the lion-heart was Gwynne;
And the leopard's beauty fell
With its spots to bounding Nell.

Oft inspected, ne'er seen through,
Thou art firm, if brittle too;
So her will, on good intent,
Might be broken, never bent.
What the glass was, when therein
Beamed the face of glad Nell Gwynne,
Was that face by beauty's spell
To the honest soul of Nell.

Laman Blanchard [1804-1845]


You promise heavens free from strife,
Pure truth, and perfect change of will;
But sweet, sweet is this human life,
So sweet, I fain would breathe it still:
Your chilly stars I can forego,
This warm kind world is all I know.

You say there is no substance here,
One great reality above:
Back from that void I shrink in fear,
And child-like hide myself in love:
Show me what angels feel. Till then
I cling, a mere weak man, to men.

You bid me lift my mean desires
From faltering lips and fitful veins
To sexless souls, ideal choirs,
Unwearied voices, wordless strains:
My mind with fonder welcome owns
One dear dead friend's remembered tones.

Forsooth the present we must give
To that which cannot pass away;
All beauteous things for which we live
By laws of time and space decay.
But oh, the very reason why
I clasp them, is because they die.

William Johnson-Cory [1823-1892]


"We are but clay," the preacher saith;
"The heart is clay, and clay the brain,
And soon or late there cometh death
To mingle us with earth again."

Well, let the preacher have it so,
And clay we are, and clay shall be; -
Why iterate? - for this I know,
That clay does very well for me.

When clay has such red mouths to kiss,
Firm hands to grasp, it is enough:
How can I take it aught amiss
We are not made of rarer stuff?

And if one tempt you to believe
His choice would be immortal gold,
Question him, Can you then conceive
A warmer heart than clay can hold?

Or richer joys than clay can feel?
And when perforce he falters nay,
Bid him renounce his wish and kneel
In thanks for this same kindly clay.

Edward Verrall Lucas [1868-


What magic halo rings thy head,
Dream-maiden of a minstrel dead?
What charm of faerie round thee hovers,
That all who listen are thy lovers?

What power yet makes our pulses thrill
To see thee at thy window-sill,
And by that dangerous cord down-sliding,
And through the moonlit garden gliding?

True maiden art thou in thy dread;
True maiden in thy hardihead;
True maiden when, thy fears half-over,
Thou lingerest to try thy lover.

And ah! what heart of stone or steel
But doth some stir unwonted feel,
When to the day new brightness bringing
Thou standest at the stair-foot singing!

Thy slender limbs in boyish dress,
Thy tones half glee, half tenderness,
Thou singest, 'neath the light tale's cover,
Of thy true love to thy true lover.

O happy lover, happy maid,
Together in sweet story laid;
Forgive the hand that here is baring
Your old loves for new lovers' staring!

Yet, Nicolete, why fear'st thou fame?
No slander now can touch thy name,
Nor Scandal's self a fault discovers,
Though each new year thou hast new lovers.

Nor, Aucassin, need'st thou to fear
These lovers of too late a year,
Nor dread one jealous pang's revival;
No lover now can be thy rival.

What flower considers if its blooms
Light, haunts of men, or forest glooms?
What care ye though the world discovers
Your flowers of love, O flower of lovers!

Francis William Bourdillon [1852-1921]

Aucassin And Nicolette

Within the garden of Beaucaire
He met her by a secret stair, -
The night was centuries ago.
Said Aucassin, "My love, my pet,
These old confessors vex me so!
They threaten all the pains of hell
Unless I give you up, ma belle"; -
Said Aucassin to Nicolette.

"Now who should there in Heaven be
To fill your place, ma tres-douce mie?
To reach that spot I little care!
There all the droning priests are met;
All the old cripples, too, are there
That unto shrines and altars cling
To filch the Peter-pence we bring"; -
Said Aucassin to Nicolette.

"There are the barefoot monks and friars
With gowns well tattered by the briars,
The saints who lift their eyes and whine:
I like them not - a starveling set!
Who'd care with folk like these to dine?
The other road 'twere just as well
That you and I should take, ma belle!" -
Said Aucassin to Nicolette.

"To purgatory I would go
With pleasant comrades whom we know,
Fair scholars, minstrels, lusty knights
Whose deeds the land will not forget,
The captains of a hundred fights,
The men of valor and degree:
We'll join that gallant company," -
Said Aucassin to Nicolette.

"There, too, are jousts and joyance rare,
And beauteous ladies debonair,
The pretty dames, the merry brides,
Who with their wedded lords coquette
And have a friend or two besides, -
And all in gold and trappings gay,
With furs, and crests in vair and gray," -
Said Aucassin to Nicolette.

"Sweet players on the cithern strings,
And they who roam the world like kings,
Are gathered there, so blithe and free!
Pardie! I'd join them now, my pet,
If you went also, ma douce mie!
The joys of Heaven I'd forego
To have you with me there below," -
Said Aucassin to Nicolette.

Edmund Clarence Stedman [1833-1908]


With slower pen men used to write,
Of old, when "letters" were "polite";
In Anna's or in George's days,
They could afford to turn a phrase,
Or trim a struggling theme aright.

They knew not steam; electric light
Not yet had dazed their calmer sight; -
They meted out both blame and praise
With slower pen.

Too swiftly now the Hours take flight!
What's read at morn is dead at night:
Scant space have we for Art's delays,
Whose breathless thought so briefly stays,
We may not work - ah! would we might! -
With slower pen.

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]

Si vieillesse pouvait! -

Scene. - A small neat Room. In a high Voltaire Chair
sits a white-haired old Gentleman.

Monsieur Vieuxbois Babette

M. Vieuxbois (turning querulously)
Day of my life! Where can she get!
Babette! I say! Babette! - Babette!

Babette (entering hurriedly)
Coming, M'sieu'! If M'sieu' speaks
So loud, he won't be well for weeks!

M. Vieuxbois
Where have you been?

Why M'sieu' knows: -
April! . . . Ville d'Avray! . . . Ma'am'selle Rose!

M. Vieuxbois
Ah! I am old, - and I forget.
Was the place growing green, Babette?

But of a greenness! - yes, M'sieu'!
And then the sky so blue! - so blue!
And when I dropped my immortelle,
How the birds sang!
(Lifting her apron to her eyes)
This poor Ma'am'selle!

M. Vieuxbois
You're a good girl, Babette, but she, -
She was an Angel, verily.
Sometimes I think I see her yet
Stand smiling by the cabinet;
And once, I know, she peeped and laughed
Betwixt the curtains . . .
Where's the draught?
(She gives him a cup)
Now I shall sleep, I think, Babette; -
Sing me your Norman chansonnette.

Babette (sings)
"Once at the Angelus,
(Ere I was dead),
Angels all glorious
Came to my bed;
Angels in blue and white
Crowned on the Head."

M. Vieuxbois (drowsily)
"She was an Angel" . . . "Once she laughed" . . .
What, was I dreaming?
Where's the draught?

Babette (showing the empty cup)
The draught, M'sieu'?

M. Vieuxbois
How I forget!
I am so old! But sing, Babette!

Babette (sings)
"One was the Friend I left
Stark in the Snow;
One was the Wife that died
Long, - long ago;
One was the Love I lost . . .
How could she know?"

M. Vieuxbois (murmuring)
Ah, Paul! . . . old Paul! . . . Eulalie too!
And Rose . . . And O! "the sky so blue!"

Babette (sings)
"One had my Mother's eyes,
Wistful and mild;
One had my Father's face;
One was a Child:
All of them bent to me, -
Bent down and smiled!"
(He is asleep!)

M. Vieuxbois (almost inaudibly)
"How I forget!"
"I am so old!" . . . "Good-night, Babette!"

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]

Le tempo le mieux employe est celui qu'on perd. - Claude Tillier

I'd "read" three hours. Both notes and text
Were fast a mist becoming;
In bounced a vagrant bee, perplexed,
And filled the room with humming,

Then out. The casement's leafage sways,
And, parted light, discloses
Miss Di., with hat and book, - a maze
Of muslin mixed with roses.

"You're reading Greek?" "I am - and you?"
"O, mine's a mere romancer!"
"So Plato is." "Then read him - do;
And I'll read mine for answer."

I read: "My Plato (Plato, too -
That wisdom thus should harden!)
Declares 'blue eyes look doubly blue
Beneath a Dolly Varden.'"

She smiled. "My book in turn avers
(No author's name is stated)
That sometimes those Philosophers
Are sadly mistranslated."

"But hear, - the next's in stronger style:
The Cynic School asserted
That two red lips which part and smile
May not be controverted!"

She smiled once more. "My book, I find,
Observes some modern doctors
Would make the Cynics out a kind
Of album-verse concoctors."

Then I: "Why not? 'Ephesian law,
No less than time's tradition,
Enjoined fair speech on all who saw
Diana's apparition."

She blushed, - this time. "If Plato's page
No wiser precept teaches,
Then I'd renounce that doubtful sage,
And walk to Burnham Beeches."

"Agreed," I said. "For Socrates
(I find he too is talking)
Thinks Learning can't remain at ease
When Beauty goes a-walking."

She read no more. I leapt the sill:
The sequel's scarce essential -
Nay, more than this, I hold it still
Profoundly confidential.

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]

A Proper New Ballad Of The Country And The Town

Phyllida amo ante alias. - Virgil

The ladies of St. James's
Go swinging to the play;
Their footmen run before them,
With a "Stand by! Clear the way!"
But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
She takes her buckled shoon,
When we go out a-courting
Beneath the harvest moon.

The ladies of St. James's
Wear satin on their backs;
They sit all night at Ombre,
With candles all of wax:
But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
She dons her russet gown,
And runs to gather May dew
Before the world is down.

The ladies of St. James's!
They are so fine and fair,
You'd think a box of essences
Was broken in the air:
But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
The breath of heath and furze
When breezes blow at morning,
Is not so fresh as hers.

The ladies of St. James's!
They're painted to the eyes;
Their white it stays for ever,
Their red it never dies:
But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
Her color comes and goes;
It trembles to a lily, -
It wavers to a rose.

The ladies of St. James's!
You scarce can understand
The half of all their speeches,
Their phrases are so grand:
But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
Her shy and simple words
Are clear as after rain-drops
The music of the birds.

The ladies of St. James's!
They have their fits and freaks;
They smile on you - for seconds,
They frown on you - for weeks:
But Phyllida, my Phyllida!
Come either storm or shine,
From Shrove-tide unto Shrove-tide,
Is always true - and mine.

My Phyllida! my Phyllida!
I care not though they heap
The hearts of all St. James's,
And give me all to keep;
I care not whose the beauties
Of all the world may be,
For Phyllida - for Phyllida
Is all the world to me!

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]


Monsieur the Cure down the street
Comes with his kind old face, -
With his coat worn bare, and his straggling hair,
And his green umbrella-case.

You may see him pass by the little "Grande Place",
And the tiny "Hotel-de-Ville";
He smiles, as he goes, to the fleuriste Rose,
And the pompier Theophile.

He turns, as a rule, through the "Marche" cool,
Where the noisy fish-wives call;
And his compliment pays to the "Belle Therese",
As she knits in her dusky stall.

There's a letter to drop at the locksmith's shop,
And Toto, the locksmith's niece,
Has jubilant hopes, for the Cure gropes
In his tails for a pain d'epice.

There's a little dispute with a merchant of fruit,
Who is said to be heterodox,
That will ended be with a "Ma foi, oui!"
And a pinch from the Cure's box.

There is also a word that no one heard
To the furrier's daughter Lou.;
And a pale cheek fed with a flickering red,
And a "Ben Dieu garde M'sieu'!"

But a grander way for the Sous-Prefet,
And a bow for Ma'am'selle Anne;
And a mock "off-hat" to the Notary's cat,
And a nod to the Sacristan: -

For ever through life the Cure goes
With a smile on his kind old face -
With his coat worn bare, and his straggling hair,
And his green umbrella-case.

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]


He lived in that past Georgian day,
When men were less inclined to say
That "Time is Gold," and overlay
With toil their pleasure;
He held some land, and dwelt thereon, -
Where, I forget, - the house is gone;
His Christian name, I think, was John, -
His surname, Leisure.

Reynolds has painted him, - a face
Filled with a fine, old-fashioned grace,
Fresh-colored, frank, with ne'er a trace
Of trouble shaded;
The eyes are blue, the hair is dressed
In plainest way, - one hand is pressed
Deep in a flapped canary vest,
With buds brocaded.

He wears a brown old Brunswick coat,
With silver buttons, - round his throat,
A soft cravat; - in all you note
An elder fashion, -
A strangeness, which, to us who shine
In shapely hats, - whose coats combine
All harmonies of hue and line,
Inspires compassion.

He lived so long ago, you see!
Men were untravelled then, but we,
Like Ariel, post o'er land and sea
With careless parting;
He found it quite enough for him
To smoke his pipe in "garden trim,"
And watch, about the fish tank's brim,
The swallows darting.

He liked the well-wheel's creaking tongue, -
He liked the thrush that fed her young, -
He liked the drone of flies among
His netted peaches;
He liked to watch the sunlight fall
Athwart his ivied orchard wall;
Or pause to catch the cuckoo's call
Beyond the beeches.

His were the times of Paint and Patch,
And yet no Ranelagh could match
The sober doves that round his thatch
Spread tails and sidled;
He liked their ruffling, puffed content;
For him their drowsy wheelings meant
More than a Mall of Beaux that bent,
Or Belles that bridled.

Not that, in truth, when life began
He shunned the flutter of the fan;
He too had maybe "pinked his man"
In Beauty's quarrel;
But now his "fervent youth" had flown
Where lost things go; and he was grown
As staid and slow-paced as his own
Old hunter, Sorrel.

Yet still he loved the chase, and held
That no composer's score excelled
The merry horn, when Sweetlip swelled
Its jovial riot;
But most his measured words of praise
Caressed the angler's easy ways, -
His idly meditative days, -
His rustic diet.

Not that his "meditating" rose
Beyond a sunny summer doze;
He never troubled his repose
With fruitless prying;
But held, as law for high and low,
What God withholds no man can know,
And smiled away enquiry so,
Without replying.

We read - alas, how much we read! -
The jumbled strifes of creed and creed
With endless controversies feed
Our groaning tables;
His books - and they sufficed him - were
Cotton's Montaigne, The Grave of Blair,
A "Walton" - much the worse for wear,
And Aesop's Fables.

One more - The Bible. Not that he
Had searched its page as deep as we;
No sophistries could make him see
Its slender credit;
It may be that he could not count
The sires and sons to Jesse's fount, -
He liked the "Sermon on the Mount," -
And more, he read it.

Once he had loved, but failed to wed,
A red-cheeked lass who long was dead;
His ways were far too slow, he said,
To quite forget her;
And still when time had turned him gray,
The earliest hawthorn buds in May
Would find his lingering feet astray,
Where first he met her.

"In Coelo Quies" heads the stone
On Leisure's grave, - now little known,
A tangle of wild-rose has grown
So thick across it;
The "Benefactions" still declare
He left the clerk an elbow-chair,
And "12 Pence Yearly to Prepare
A Christmas Posset."

Lie softly, Leisure! Doubtless you,
With too serene a conscience drew
Your easy breath, and slumbered through
The gravest issue;
But we, to whom our age allows
Scarce space to wipe our weary brows,
Look down upon your narrow house,
Old friend, and miss you!

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]

That Belonged To The Marquise De Pompadour

Chicken-skin, delicate, white,
Painted by Carlo Vanloo,
Loves in a riot of light,
Roses and vaporous blue;
Hark to the dainty frou-frou!
Picture above, if you can,
Eyes that could melt as the dew, -
This was the Pompadour's fan!

See how they rise at the sight,
Thronging the Ceil de Boeuf through,
Courtiers as butterflies bright,
Beauties that Fragonard drew,
Talon-rouge, falbala, queue,
Cardinal, Duke, - to a man,
Eager to sigh or to sue, -
This was the Pompadour's fan!

Ah, but things more than polite
Hung on this toy, voyez-vous!
Matters of state and of might,
Things that great ministers do;
Things that, maybe, overthrew
Those in whose brains they began;
Here was the sign and the cue, -
This was the Pompadour's fan!

Where are the secrets it knew?
Weavings of plot and of plan?
- But where is the Pompadour, too?
This was the Pompadour's Fan!

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]


When I saw you last, Rose,
You were only so high; -
How fast the time goes!

Like a bud ere it blows,
You just peeped at the sky,
When I saw you last, Rose!

Now your petals unclose,
Now your May-time is nigh; -
How fast the time goes!

And a life, - how it grows!
You were scarcely so shy,
When I saw you last, Rose!

In your bosom it shows
There's a guest on the sly;
(How fast the time goes!)

Is it Cupid? Who knows!
Yet you used not to sigh,
When I saw you last, Rose; -
How fast the time goes!

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]


I intended an Ode,
And it turned to a Sonnet.
It began a la mode,
I intended an Ode;
But Rose crossed the road
In her latest new bonnet;
I intended an Ode;
And it turned to a Sonnet.

Austin Dobson [1840-1921]


Myrtilla, to-night,
Wears Jacqueminot roses.
She's the loveliest sight!
Myrtilla to-night: -
Correspondingly light
My pocket-book closes.
Myrtilla, to-night
Wears Jacqueminot roses.

Charles Henry Luders [1858-1891]


What he said: -
This kiss upon your fan I press -
Ah! Sainte Nitouche, you don't refuse it!
And may it from its soft recess -
This kiss upon your fan I press -
Be blown to you, a shy caress,
By this white down, whene'er you use it.
This kiss upon your fan I press, -
Ah, Sainte Nitouche, you don't refuse it!

What she thought: -
To kiss a fan!
What a poky poet!
The stupid man
To kiss a fan
When he knows - that - he - can -
Or ought to know it -
To kiss a fan!
What a poky poet!

Harrison Robertson [1856-

From The French Of Francois Villon 1450

Tell me now in what hidden way is
Lady Flora the lovely Roman?
Where's Hipparchia, and where is Thais,
Neither of them the fairer woman?
Where is Echo, beheld of no man,
Only heard on river and mere, -
She whose beauty was more than human? . . .
But where are the snows of yester-year?

Where's Heloise, the learned nun,
For whose sake Abeilard, I ween,
Lost manhood and put priesthood on?
(From Love he won such dule and teen!)
And where, I pray you, is the Queen
Who willed that Buridan should steer
Sewed in a sack's mouth down the Seine? . . .
But where are the snows of yester-year?

White Queen Blanche, like a queen of lilies,
With a voice like any mermaiden, -
Bertha Broadfoot, Beatrice, Alice,
And Ermengarde the lady of Maine, -
And that good Joan whom Englishmen
At Rouen doomed and burned her there, -
Mother of God, where are they then? . . .
But where are the snows of yester-year?

Nay, never ask this week, fair lord,
Where they are gone, nor yet this year,
Except with this for an overword, -
But where are the snows of yester-year?

Dante Gabriel Rossetti [1828-1882]

After Villon

Nay, tell me now in what strange air
The Roman Flora dwells to-day,
Where Archippiada hides, and where
Beautiful Thais has passed away?
Whence answers Echo, afield, astray,
By mere or stream, - around, below?
Lovelier she than a woman of clay;
Nay, but where is the last year's snow?

Where is wise Heloise, that care
Brought on Abeilard, and dismay?
All for her love he found a snare,
A maimed poor monk in orders gray;
And where's the Queen who willed to slay
Buridan, that in a sack must go
Afloat down Seine, - a perilous way -
Nay, but where is the last year's snow?

Where's that White Queen, a lily rare,
With her sweet song, the Siren's lay?
Where's Bertha Broad-foot, Beatrice fair?
Alys and Ermengarde, where are they?
Good Joan, whom English did betray
In Rouen town, and burned her? No,
Maiden and Queen, no man may say;
Nay, but where is the last year's snow?

Prince, all this week thou needst not pray,
Nor yet this year the thing to know.
One burden answers, ever and aye,
"Nay, but where is the last year's snow?"

Andrew Lang [1844-1912]

After Villon
From "If I Were King"

I wonder in what Isle of Bliss
Apollo's music fills the air;
In what green valley Artemis
For young Endymion spreads the snare:
Where Venus lingers debonair:
The Wind has blown them all away -
And Pan lies piping in his lair -
Where are the Gods of Yesterday?

Say where the great Semiramis
Sleeps in a rose-red tomb; and where
The precious dust of Caesar is,
Or Cleopatra's yellow hair:
Where Alexander Do-and-Dare;
The Wind has blown them all away -
And Redbeard of the Iron Chair;
Where are the Dreams of Yesterday?

Where is the Queen of Herod's kiss,
And Phryne in her beauty bare;
By what strange sea does Tomyris
With Dido and Cassandra share
Divine Proserpina's despair;
The Wind has blown them all away -
For what poor ghost does Helen care?
Where are the Girls of Yesterday?

Alas for lovers! Pair by pair
The Wind has blown them all away:
The young and yare, the fond and fair:
Where are the Snows of Yesterday?

Justin Huntly McCarthy [1860-1936]

After Villon
From "If I Were King"

All French folk, whereso'er ye be,
Who love your country, sail and sand,
From Paris to the Breton sea,
And back again to Norman strand,
Forsooth ye seem a silly band,
Sheep without shepherd, left to chance -
Far otherwise our Fatherland,
If Villon were the King of France!

The figure on the throne you see
Is nothing but a puppet, planned
To wear the regal bravery
Of silken coat and gilded wand.
Not so we Frenchmen understand
The Lord of lion's heart and glance,
And such a one would take command
If Villon were the King of France!

His counsellors are rogues, Perdie!
While men of honest mind are banned
To creak upon the Gallows Tree,
Or squeal in prisons over-manned
We want a chief to bear the brand,
And bid the damned Burgundians dance.
God! Where the Oriflamme should stand
If Villon were the King of France!

Louis the Little, play the grand;
Buffet the foe with sword and lance;
'Tis what would happen, by this hand,
If Villon were the King of France!

Justin Huntly McCarthy [1860-1936]


The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall.
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbors - on the wall -
Are drawing a long breath to shout "Hurray!"
The strangest whim has seized me . . . After all
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

To-morrow is the time I get my pay -
My uncle's sword is hanging in the hall -
I see a little cloud all pink and gray -
Perhaps the rector's mother will not call -
I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
That mushrooms could be cooked another way -
I never read the works of Juvenal -
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

The world will have another washing day;
The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
And H. G. Wells has found that children play,
And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall;
Rationalists are growing rational -
And through thick woods one finds a stream astray,
So secret that the very sky seems small -
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
Even to-day your royal head may fall -
I think I will not hang myself to-day.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton [1874-1936]


Through this our city of delight,
This Paris of our joy and play,
This Paris perfumed, jeweled, bright,
Rouged, powdered, amorous, - ennuye:
Across our gilded Quartier,
So fair to see, so frail au fond,
Echoes - mon Dieu! - the Ragman's bray:
"Mar - chand d'ha - bits! Chif - fons!"

Foul, hunched, a plague to dainty sight,
He limps infect by park and quai,
Voicing (for those that hear aright)
His hunger-world, the dark Marais.
Sexton of all we waste and fray,
He bags at last pour tout de bon
Our trappings rare, our braveries gay,
"Mar - chand d'ha - bits! Chif - fons!"

Their lot is ours! A grislier wight,
The Ragman Time, takes day by day
Our beauty's bloom, our manly might,
Our joie de vivre, our gods of clay;
Till torn and worn and soiled and gray
Hot life rejects us - nom de nom! -
Rags! and our only requiem lay,
"Mar - chand d'ha - bits! Chif - fons!"

Princes take heed! - for where are they,
Valois, Navarre and Orleans? . . .
Death drones the answer, far away,
"Mar - chand d'ha - bits! Chif - fons!"

William Samuel Johnson [1859-

Lower Empire. Circa A. D. 700

The Monk Arnulphus uncorked his ink
That shone with a blood-red light
Just now as the sun began to sink;
His vellum was pumiced a silvery white;
"The Basileus" - for so he began -
"Is a royal sagacious Mars of a man,
Than the very lion bolder;
He has married the stately widow of Thrace -"
"Hush!" cried a voice at his shoulder.

His palette gleamed with a burnished green,
Bright as a dragon-fly's skin:
His gold-leaf shone like the robe of a queen,
His azure glowed as a cloud worn thin,
Deep as the blue of the king-whale's lair:
"The Porphyrogenita Zoe the fair
Is about to wed with a Prince much older,
Of an unpropitious mien and look -"
"Hush!" cried a voice at his shoulder.

The red flowers trellised the parchment page,
The birds leaped up on the spray,
The yellow fruit swayed and drooped and swung,
It was Autumn mixed up with May.
(O, but his cheek was shrivelled and shrunk!)
"The child of the Basileus," wrote the Monk,
"Is golden-haired - tender the Queen's arms fold her.
Her step-mother Zoe doth love her so -"
"Hush!" cried a voice at his shoulder.

The Kings and Martyrs and Saints and Priests
All gathered to guard the text:
There was Daniel snug in the lions' den
Singing no whit perplexed -
Brazen Samson with spear and helm -
"The Queen," wrote the Monk, "rules firm this realm,
For the King gets older and older.
The Norseman Thorkill is brave and fair -"
"Hush!" cried a voice at his shoulder.

Walter Thornbury [1828-1876]


When thin-strewn memory I look through,
I see most clearly poor Miss Loo,
Her tabby cat, her cage of birds,
Her nose, her hair - her muffled words,
And how she would open her green eyes,
As if in some immense surprise,
Whenever as we sat at tea,
She made some small remark to me.

'Tis always drowsy summer when
From out the past she comes again;
The westering sunshine in a pool
Floats in her parlor still and cool;
While the slim bird its lean wires shakes,
As into piercing song it breaks;
Till Peter's pale-green eyes ajar
Dream, wake; wake, dream, in one brief bar;
And I am sitting, dull and shy,
And she with gaze of vacancy,

And large hands folded on the tray,
Musing the afternoon away;
Her satin bosom heaving slow
With sighs that softly ebb and flow,
And her plain face in such dismay,
It seems unkind to look her way;
Until all cheerful back will come
Her gentle gleaming spirit home:
And one would think that poor Miss Loo
Asked nothing else, if she had you.

Walter De la Mare [1873-


A portly Wood-louse, full of cares,
Transacted eminent affairs
Along a parapet where pears
Unripened fell
And vines embellished the sweet airs
With muscatel.

Day after day beheld him run
His scales a-twinkle in the sun
About his business never done;
Night's slender span he
Spent in the home his wealth had won -
A red-brick cranny.

Thus, as his Sense of Right directed,
He lived both honored and respected,
Cherished his children and protected
His duteous wife,
And naught of diffidence deflected
His useful life.

One mid-day, hastening to his Club,
He spied beside a water-tub
The owner of each plant and shrub
A humble Bard -
Who turned upon the conscious grub
A mild regard.

"Eh?" quoth the Wood-louse, "Can it be
A Higher Power looks down to see
My praiseworthy activity
And notes me plying
My Daily Task? - Nor strange, dear me,
But gratifying!"

To whom the Bard: I still divest
My orchard of the Insect Pest,
That you are such is manifest,
Prepare to die. -
And yet, how sweetly does your crest
Reflect the sky!

"Go then forgiven, (for what ails
Your naughty life this fact avails
Tu pardon) mirror in your scales
Celestial blue,
Till the sun sets and the light fails
The skies and you."

. . . . . . .

May all we proud and bustling parties
Whose lot in forum, street and mart is
Stand in conspectu Deitatis
And save our face,
Reflecting where our scaly heart is
Some skyey grace.

Helen Parry Eden [18


John Brown and Jeanne at Fontainebleau -
'Twas Toussaint, just a year ago;
Crimson and copper was the glow
Of all the woods at Fontainebleau.
They peered into that ancient well,
And watched the slow torch as it fell.
John gave the keeper two whole sous,
And Jeanne that smile with which she woos
John Brown to folly. So they lose
The Paris train. But never mind! -
All-Saints are rustling in the wind,
And there's an inn, a crackling fire -
It's deux-cinquante, but Jeanne's desire);
There's dinner, candles, country wine,
Jeanne's lips - philosophy divine!
There was a bosquet at Saint Cloud
Wherein John's picture of her grew
To be a Salon masterpiece -
Till the rain fell that would not cease.
Through one long alley how they raced! -
'Twas gold and brown, and all a waste
Of matted leaves, moss-interlaced.
Shades of mad queens and hunter-kings
And thorn-sharp feet of dryad-things
Were company to their wanderings;
Then rain and darkness on them drew.
The rich folks' motors honked and flew.
They hailed an old cab, heaven for two;
The bright Champs-Elysees at last -
Though the cab crawled it sped too fast.

Paris, upspringing white and gold:
Flamboyant arch and high-enscrolled
War-sculpture, big, Napoleonic -
Fierce chargers, angels histrionic;
The royal sweep of gardened spaces,
The pomp and whirl of columned Places;
The Rive Gauche, age-old, gay and gray;
The impasse and the loved cafe;
The tempting tidy little shops;
The convent walls, the glimpsed tree-tops;
Book-stalls, old men like dwarfs in plays;
Talk, work, and Latin Quarter ways.

May - Robinson's, the chestnut trees -
Were ever crowds as gay as these?
The quick pale waiters on a run,
The round green tables, one by one,
Hidden away in amorous bowers -
Lilac, laburnum's golden showers.
Kiss, clink of glasses, laughter heard,
And nightingales quite undeterred.
And then that last extravagance -
O Jeanne, a single amber glance
Will pay him! - "Let's play millionaire
For just two hours - on princely fare,
At some hotel where lovers dine
A deux and pledge across the wine."
They find a damask breakfast-room,
Where stiff silk roses range their bloom.
The garcon has a splendid way
Of bearing in grand dejeuner.
Then to be left alone, alone,
High up above Rue Castiglione;
Curtained away from all the rude
Rumors, in silken solitude;
And, John, her head upon your knees -
Time waits for moments such as these.

Florence Wilkinson [18


It was an old, old, old, old lady,
And a boy that was half-past three;
And the way that they played together
Was beautiful to see.

She couldn't go running and jumping,
And the boy, no more could he;
For he was a thin little fellow,
With a thin little twisted knee.

They sat in the yellow sunlight,
Out under the maple tree;
And the game that they played I'll tell you,
Just as it was told to me.

It was Hide-and-Go-Seek they were playing,
Though you'd never have known it to be -
With an old, old, old, old lady,
And a boy with a twisted knee.

The boy would bend his face down
On his one little sound right knee,
And he'd guess where she was hiding,
In guesses One, Two, Three!

"You are in the china-closet!"
He would cry, and laugh with glee -
It wasn't the china closet,
But he still had Two and Three.

"You are up in papa's big bedroom,
In the chest with the queer old key!"
And she said: "You are warm and warmer;
But you're not quite right," said she.

"It can't be the little cupboard
Where mamma's things used to be -
So it must be the clothes-press, Gran'ma!"
And he found her with his Three.

Then she covered her face with her fingers,
That were wrinkled and white and wee,
And she guessed where the boy was hiding,
With a One and a Two and a Three.

And they never had stirred from their places,
Right under the maple tree -
This old, old, old, old lady
And the boy with the lame little knee -
This dear, dear, dear old lady,
And the boy who was half-past three.

Henry Cuyler Bunner [1855-1896]


I take my chaperon to the play -
She thinks she's taking me.
And the gilded youth who owns the box,
A proud young man is he;
But how would his young heart be hurt
If he could only know
That not for his sweet sake I go
Nor yet to see the trifling show;
But to see my chaperon flirt.

Her eyes beneath her snowy hair
They sparkle young as mine;
There's scarce a wrinkle in her hand
So delicate and fine.
And when my chaperon is seen,
They come from everywhere -
The dear old boys with silvery hair,
With old-time grace and old-time air,
To greet their old-time queen.

They bow as my young Midas here
Will never learn to bow
(The dancing-masters do not teach
That gracious reverence now);
With voices quavering just a bit,
They play their old parts through,
They talk of folk who used to woo,
Of hearts that broke in 'fifty-two -
Now none the worse for it.

And as those aged crickets chirp,
I watch my chaperon's face,
And see the dear old features take
A new and tender grace;
And in her happy eyes I see
Her youth awakening bright,
With all its hope, desire, delight -
Ah, me! I wish that I were quite
As young - as young as she!

Henry Cuyler Bunner [1855-1896]


A pitcher of mignonette
In a tenement's highest casement, -
Queer sort of flower-pot - yet
That pitcher of mignonette
Is a garden in heaven set,
To the little sick child in the basement -
The pitcher of mignonette,
In the tenement's highest casement.

Henry Cuyler Bunner [1855-1896]


In Tilbury Town did Old King Cole
A wise old age anticipate,
Desiring, with his pipe and bowl,
No Khan's extravagant estate.
No crown annoyed his honest head,
No fiddlers three were called or needed;
For two disastrous heirs instead
Made music more that ever three did.

Bereft of her with whom his life
Was harmony without a flaw,
He took no other for a wife,
Nor sighed for any that he saw;
And if he doubted his two sons,
And heirs, Alexis and Evander,
He might have been as doubtful once
Of Robert Burns and Alexander.

Alexis, in his early youth,
Began to steal - from old and young.
Likewise Evander, and the truth
Was like a bad taste on his tongue.
Born thieves and liars, their affair
Seemed only to be tarred with evil -
The most insufferable pair
Of scamps that ever cheered the devil.

The world went on, their fame went on,
And they went on - from bad to worse;
Till, goaded hot with nothing done,
And each accoutered with a curse,
The friends of Old King Cole, by twos,
And fours, and sevens, and elevens,
Pronounced unalterable views
Of doings that were not of Heaven's.

And having learned again whereby
Their baleful zeal had come about,
King Cole met many a wrathful eye
So kindly that its wrath went out -
Or partly out. Say what they would,
He seemed the more to court their candor,
But never told what kind of good
Was in Alexis and Evander.

And Old King Cole, with many a puff
That haloed his urbanity,
Would smoke till he had smoked enough,
And listen most attentively.
He beamed as with an inward light
That had the Lord's assurance in it;
And once a man was there all night,
Expecting something every minute.

But whether from too little thought,
Or too much fealty to the bowl,
A dim reward was all he got
For sitting up with Old King Cole.
"Though mine," the father mused aloud,
"Are not the sons I would have chosen,
Shall I, less evilly endowed,
By their infirmity be frozen?

"They'll have a bad end, I'll agree,
But I was never born to groan;
For I can see what I can see,
And I'm accordingly alone.
With open heart and open door,
I love my friends, I like my neighbors;
But if I try to tell you more,
Your doubts will overmatch my labors.

"This pipe would never make me calm,
This bowl my grief would never drown.
For grief like mine there is no balm
In Gilead, or in Tilbury Town.
And if I see what I can see,
I know not any way to blind it;
Nor more if any way may be
For you to grope or fly to find it.

"There may be room for ruin yet,
And ashes for a wasted love;
Or, like One whom you may forget,
I may have meat you know not of.
And if I'd rather live than weep
Meanwhile, do you find that surprising?
Why, bless my soul, the man's asleep!
That's good. The sun will soon be rising."

Edwin Arlington Robinson [1869-1935]


My grandshire sailed three years from home,
And slew unmoved the sounding whale:
Here on the windless beach I roam
And watch far out the hardy sail.

The lions of the surf that cry
Upon this lion-colored shore
On reefs of midnight met his eye:
He knew their fangs as I their roar.

My grandsire sailed uncharted seas,
And toll of all their leagues he took:
I scan the shallow bays at ease,
And tell their colors in a book.

The anchor-chains his music made
And wind in shrouds and running-gear:
The thrush at dawn beguiles my glade,
And once, 'tis said, I woke to hear.

My grandsire in his ample fist
The long harpoon upheld to men:
Behold obedient to my wrist
A gray gull's-feather for my pen!

Upon my grandsire's leathern cheek
Five zones their bitter bronze had set:
Some day their hazards I will seek,
I promise me at times. Not yet.

I think my grandsire now would turn
A mild but speculative eye
On me, my pen and its concern,
Then gaze again to sea - and sigh.

George Sterling [1869-1926]


A rose to the living is more
Than sumptuous wreaths to the dead:
In filling love's infinite store,
A rose to the living is more, -
If graciously given before
The hungering spirit is fled, -
A rose to the living is more
Than sumptuous wreaths to the dead.

Nixon Waterman [1859-

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