A Dream Lies Dead
A dream lies dead here. May you softly go
Before this place, and turn away your eyes,
Nor seek to know the look of that which dies
Importuning Life for life. Walk not in woe,
But, for a little, let your step be slow.
And, of your mercy, be not sweetly wise
With words of hope and Spring and tenderer skies.
A dream lies dead; and this all mourners know:
Whenever one drifted petal leaves the tree-
Though white of bloom as it had been before
And proudly waitful of fecundity-
One little loveliness can be no more;
And so must Beauty bow her imperfect head
Because a dream has joined the wistful dead!
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Buried all of his libretti,
Thought the matter over - then
Went and dug them up again.
Oh, there once was a lady, and so I've been told,
Whose lover grew weary, whose lover grew cold.
"My child," he remarked, "though our episode ends,
In the manner of men, I suggest we be friends."
And the truest of friends ever after they were-
Oh, they lied in their teeth when they told me of her!
If I had a shiny gun,
I could have a world of fun
Speeding bullets through the brains
Of the folk who give me pains;
Or had I some poison gas,
I could make the moments pass
Bumping off a number of
People whom I do not love.
But I have no lethal weapon-
Thus does Fate our pleasure step on!
So they still are quick and well
Who should be, by rights, in hell.
For this my mother wrapped me warm,
And called me home against the storm,
And coaxed my infant nights to quiet,
And gave me roughage in my diet,
And tucked me in my bed at eight,
And clipped my hair, and marked my weight,
And watched me as I sat and stood:
That I might grow to womanhood
To hear a whistle and drop my wits
And break my heart to clattering bits.
And if my heart be scarred and burned,
The safer, I, for all I learned;
The calmer, I, to see it true
That ways of love are never new-
The love that sets you daft and dazed
Is every love that ever blazed;
The happier, I, to fathom this:
A kiss is every other kiss.
The reckless vow, the lovely name,
When Helen walked, were spoke the same;
The weighted breast, the grinding woe,
When Phaon fled, were ever so.
Oh, it is sure as it is sad
That any lad is every lad,
And what's a girl, to dare implore
Her dear be hers forevermore?
Though he be tried and he be bold,
And swearing death should he be cold,
He'll run the path the others went....
But you, my sweet, are different.
Her mind lives in a quiet room,
A narrow room, and tall,
With pretty lamps to quench the gloom
And mottoes on the wall.
There all the things are waxen neat
And set in decorous lines;
And there are posies, round and sweet,
And little, straightened vines.
Her mind lives tidily, apart
From cold and noise and pain,
And bolts the door against her heart,
Out wailing in the rain.
Now this must be the sweetest place
From here to heaven's end;
The field is white and flowering lace,
The birches leap and bend,
The hills, beneath the roving sun,
From green to purple pass,
And little, trifling breezes run
Their fingers through the grass.
So good it is, so gay it is,
So calm it is, and pure.
A one whose eyes may look on this
Must be the happier, sure.
But me- I see it flat and gray
And blurred with misery,
Because a lad a mile away
Has little need of me.
My heart went fluttering with fear
Lest you should go, and leave me here
To beat my breast and rock my head
And stretch me sleepless on my bed.
Ah, clear they see and true they say
That one shall weep, and one shall stray
For such is Love's unvarying law....
I never thought, I never saw
That I should be the first to go;
How pleasant that it happened so!
The Gentlest Lady
They say He was a serious child,
And quiet in His ways;
They say the gentlest lady smiled
To hear the neighbors' praise.
The coffers of her heart would close
Upon their smaliest word.
Yet did they say, "How tall He grows!"
They thought she had not heard.
They say upon His birthday eve
She'd rock Him to His rest
As if she could not have Him leave
The shelter of her breast.
The poor must go in bitter thrift,
The poor must give in pain,
But ever did she get a gift
To greet His day again.
They say she'd kiss the Boy awake,
And hail Him gay and clear,
But oh, her heart was like to break
To count another year.
The Red Dress
I always saw, I always said
If I were grown and free,
I'd have a gown of reddest red
As fine as you could see,
To wear out walking, sleek and slow,
Upon a Summer day,
And there'd be one to see me so
And flip the world away.
And he would be a gallant one,
With stars behind his eyes,
And hair like metal in the sun,
And lips too warm for lies.
I always saw us, gay and good,
High honored in the town.
Now I am grown to womanhood....
I have the silly gown.
The Searched Soul
When I consider, pro and con,
What things my love is built upon-
A curly mouth; a sinewed wrist;
A questioning brow; a pretty twist
Of words as old and tried as sin;
A pointed ear; a cloven chin;
Long, tapered limbs; and slanted eyes
Not cold nor kind nor darkly wise-
When so I ponder, here apart,
What shallow boons suffice my heart,
What dust-bound trivia capture me,
I marvel at my normalcy.
The Trusting Heart
Oh, I'd been better dying,
Oh, I was slow and sad;
A fool I was, a-crying
About a cruel lad!
But there was one that found me,
That wept to see me weep,
And had his arm around me,
And gave me words to keep.
And I'd be better dying,
And I am slow and sad;
A fool I am, a-crying
About a tender lad!
I met a man the other day-
A kindly man, and serious-
Who viewed me in a thoughtful way,
And spoke me so, and spoke me thus:
"Oh, dallying's a sad mistake;
'Tis craven to survey the morrow!
Go give your heart, and if it break-
A wise companion is Sorrow.
"Oh, live, my child, nor keep your soul
To crowd your coffin when you're dead...."
I asked his work; he dealt in coal,
And shipped it up the Tyne, he said.