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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By George Henry Boker (1823–1890)

EITHER the sum of this sweet mutiny

Amongst thy features argues me some harm,

Or else they practice wicked treachery

Against themselves, thy heart, and hapless me.

For as I start aside with blank alarm,

Dreading the glitter which begins to arm

Thy clouded brows, lo! from thy lips I see

A smile come stealing, like a loaded bee,

Heavy with sweets and perfumes, all ablaze

With soft reflections from the flowery wall

Whereon it pauses. Yet I will not raise

One question more, let smile or frown befall,

Taxing thy love where I should only praise,

And asking changes that might change thee all.

OH for some spirit, some magnetic spark,

That used nor word, nor rhyme, nor balanced pause

Of doubtful phrase, which so supinely draws

My barren verse, and blurs love’s shining mark

With misty fancies!—Oh! to burst the dark

Of smothered feeling with some new-found laws,

Hidden in nature, that might bridge the flaws

Between two beings, end this endless cark,

And make hearts know what lips have never said!

Oh! for some spell, by which one soul might move

With echoes from another, and dispread

Contagious music through its chords, above

The touch of mimic art: that thou might’st tread

Beneath thy feet this wordy show of love!

HERE let the motions of the world be still!—

Here let Time’s fleet and tireless pinions stay

Their endless flight!—or to the present day

Bind my Love’s life and mine. I have my fill

Of earthly bliss: to move is to meet ill.

Though lavish fortune in my path might lay

Fame, power, and wealth,—the toys that make the play

Of earth’s grown children,—I would rather till

The stubborn furrows of an arid land,

Toil with the brute, bear famine and disease,

Drink bitter bondage to the very lees,

Than break our union by love’s tender band,

Or drop its glittering shackles from my hand,

To grasp at empty glories such as these.