Love Elegy, to Laura

Too heedless friend, why thus augment the flame
That glows resistless in my beating breast?
Why with thy praises grace his fatal name,
Who robs thy Emma's hapless heart of rest?

Why needest thou dwell on Henry's graceful ease;
Why praise the timid worth his glance reveals;
Why speak enraptured of his power to please,
Whose power to wound my aching bosom feels?

Say not, "That gentle voice was formed for love,"
Nor in his eyes such sweet expression see;
Say not, that tenderness those glances prove,


Love Elegy, to Henry

Then thou hast learnt the secret of my soul,
Officious Friendship has its trust betrayed;
No more I need the bursting sigh control,
Nor summon pride my struggling soul to aid.

But think not banished hope returns again,
Think not I write thy thankless heart to move;
The faded form that tells my tender pain
May win thy pity, but it can't thy love.

Nor can I move thee by soft winning art,
By manners taught to charm, or practised glance;
Artless as thine, my too too feeling heart


Laughter and Tears IX

As the Sun withdrew his rays from the garden, and the moon threw cushioned beams upon the flowers, I sat under the trees pondering upon the phenomena of the atmosphere, looking through the branches at the strewn stars which glittered like chips of silver upon a blue carpet; and I could hear from a distance the agitated murmur of the rivulet singing its way briskly into the valley.


Kitchen Poem

An Elegy for Tristan Tzara

In the hungry kitchen
The dog sings for its dinner.
The housewife is writing her poem
On top of the frigidaire
Something like this:

    'Hear in the kitchen
    The crows fly home
    Into the red-robed trees
    That walk across the sky.

    Hear under the floor
    The three fountains rising and
    Trickling through the bridge
    Into the sea of poems.'

In the kitchen the housemother
Pours soup for her thousand children


from The Tenth Elegy

Ah, but the City of Pain: how strange its streets are:
the false silence of sound drowning sound,
and there--proud, brazen, effluence from the mold of emptiness--
the gilded hubbub, the bursting monument.
How an Angel would stamp out their market of solaces,
set up alongside their church bought to order:
clean and closed and woeful as a post office on Sunday.
Outside, though, there's always the billowing edge of the fair.
Swings of Freedom! High-divers and Jugglers of Zeal!


Elegy Upon Tiger

Her dead lady's joy and comfort,
Who departed this life
The last day of March, 1727:
To the great joy of Bryan
That his antagonist is gone.

And is poor Tiger laid at last so low?
O day of sorrow! -Day of dismal woe!
Bloodhounds, or spaniels, lap-dogs, 'tis all one,
When Death once whistles -snap! -away they're gone.
See how she lies, and hangs her lifeless ears,
Bathed in her mournful lady's tears!
Dumb is her throat, and wagless is her tail,
Doomed to the grave, to Death's eternal jail!


Elegy XX To His Mistress Going to Bed

Come, madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labor, I in labor lie.
The foe oft-times having the foe in sight,
Is tired with standing though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glistering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,
That th' eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.


Elegy XVIII Love's Progress

Who ever loves, if he do not propose
The right true end of love, he's one that goes
To sea for nothing but to make him sick.
Love is a bear-whelp born: if we o'erlick
Our love, and force it new strange shapes to take,
We err, and of a lump a monster make.
Were not a calf a monster that were grown
Faced like a man, though better than his own?
Perfection is in unity: prefer
One woman first, and then one thing in her.
I, when I value gold, may think upon
The ductileness, the application,


Elegy XVI The Expostulation

TO make the doubt clear, that no woman's true,
Was it my fate to prove it strong in you?
Thought I, but one had breathèd purest air ;
And must she needs be false, because she's fair?
Is it your beauty's mark, or of your youth,
Or your perfection, not to study truth?
Or think you heaven is deaf, or hath no eyes?
Or those it hath smile at your perjuries?
Are vows so cheap with women, or the matter
Whereof they're made, that they are writ in water,
And blown away with wind? Or doth their breath


Elegy XVI On His Mistress

By our first strange and fatal interview,
By all desires which thereof did ensue,
By our long starving hopes, by that remorse
Which my words' masculine persuasive force
Begot in thee, and by the memory
Of hurts, which spies and rivals threatened me,
I calmly beg: but by thy father's wrath,
By all pains, which want and divorcement hath,
I conjure thee, and all the oaths which I
And thou have sworn to seal joint constancy,
Here I unswear, and overswear them thus,
Thou shalt not love by ways so dangerous.


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