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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 120/175 -

Go to him, ah, go to him, and lift your eyes aglow to him; Fear not royally to give whatever he may claim; All your spirit's treasury scruple not to show to him. He is noble; meet him with a pride too high for shame.

Say to him, ah, say to him, that soul and body sway to him; Cast away the cowardice that counsels you to flight, Lest you turn at last to find that you have lost the way to him, Lest you stretch your arms in vain across a starless night.

Be to him, ah, be to him, the key that sets joy free to him, Teach him all the tenderness that only love can know, And if ever there should come a memory of me to him, Bid him judge me gently for the sake of long ago.

Amelia Josephine Burr [1878-


So far as our story approaches the end, Which do you pity the most of us three? - My friend, or the mistress of my friend With her wanton eyes, or me?

My friend was already too good to lose, And seemed in the way of improvement yet, When she crossed his path with her hunting-noose, And over him drew her net.

When I saw him tangled in her toils, A shame, said I, if she adds just him To her nine-and-ninety other spoils, The hundredth for a whim!

And before my friend be wholly hers, How easy to prove to him, I said, An eagle's the game her pride prefers, Though she snaps at a wren instead!

So, I gave her eyes my own eyes to take, My hand sought hers as in earnest need, And round she turned for my noble sake, And gave me herself indeed.

The eagle am I, with my fame in the world, The wren is he, with his maiden face. - You look away and your lip is curled? Patience, a moment's space!

For see, my friend goes shaking and white; He eyes me as the basilisk: I have turned, it appears, his day to night, Eclipsing his sun's disk.

And I did it, he thinks, as a very thief: "Though I love her - that, he comprehends - One should master one's passions, (love, in chief) And be loyal to one's friends!"

And she, - she lies in my hand as tame As a pear late basking over a wall; Just a touch to try and off it came; 'Tis mine, - can I let it fall?

With no mind to eat it, that's the worst! Were it thrown in the road, would the case assist? 'Twas quenching a dozen blue-flies' thirst When I gave its stalk a twist.

And I, - what I seem to my friend, you see: What I soon shall seem to his love, you guess: What I seem to myself, do you ask of me? No hero I confess.

'Tis an awkward thing to play with souls, And matter enough to save one's own: Yet think of my friend, and the burning coals He played with for bits of stone!

One likes to show the truth for the truth; That the woman was light is very true: But suppose she says, - Never mind that youth! What wrong have I done to you?

Well, anyhow, here the story stays, So far at least as I understand; And, Robert Browning, you writer of plays, Here's a subject made to your hand!

Robert Browning [1812-1889]


The chain I gave was fair to view, The lute I added sweet in sound, The heart that offered both was true, And ill deserved the fate it found.

These gifts were charmed by secret spell Thy truth in absence to divine; And they have done their duty well, Alas! they could not teach thee thine.

That chain was firm in every link, But not to bear a stranger's touch; That lute was sweet - till thou couldst think In other hands its notes were such.

Let him, who from thy neck unbound The chain which shivered in his grasp, Who saw that lute refuse to sound, Restring the chords, renew the clasp.

When thou wert changed, they altered too; The chain is broke, the music mute: 'Tis past - to them and thee adieu - False heart, frail chain, and silent lute.

George Gordon Byron [1788-1824]


The wind went wooing the rose, For the rose was fair. How the rough wind won her, who knows? But he left her there. Far away from her grave he blows: Does the free wind care?

Louise Chandler Moulton [1835-1908]


At sixteen years she knew no care; How could she, sweet and pure as light? And there pursued her everywhere Butterflies all white.

A lover looked. She dropped her eyes That glowed like pansies wet with dew; And lo, there came from out the skies Butterflies all blue.

Before she guessed her heart was gone; The tale of love was swiftly told; And all about her wheeled and shone Butterflies all gold.

Then he forsook her one sad morn; She wept and sobbed, "Oh, love, come back!" There only came to her forlorn Butterflies all black.

John Davidson [1857-1909]


The shadows lay along Broadway, 'Twas near the twilight-tide, And slowly there a lady fair Was walking in her pride. Alone walked she; but, viewlessly, Walked spirits at her side.

Peace charmed the street beneath her feet, And Honor charmed the air; And all astir looked kind on her, And called her good as fair, - For all God ever gave to her She kept with chary care.

She kept with care her beauties rare From lovers warm and true, For her heart was cold to all but gold, And the rich came not to woo - But honored well are charms to sell If priests the selling do.

Now walking there was one more fair - A slight girl, lily-pale; And she had unseen company To make the spirit quail: 'Twixt Want and Scorn she walked forlorn, And nothing could avail.

No mercy now can clear her brow For this world's peace to pray; For, as love's wild prayer dissolved in air, Her woman's heart gave way! - But the sin forgiven by Christ in heaven By man is cursed alway!

Nathaniel Parker Willis [1806-1867]

The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 120/175

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