I know I have been happiest at your side;
But what is done, is done, and all's to be.
And small the good, to linger dolefully --
Gayly it lived, and gallantly it died.
I will not make you songs of hearts denied,
And you, being man, would have no tears of me,
And should I offer you fidelity,
You'd be, I think, a little terrified.

Yet this the need of woman, this her curse:
To range her little gifts, and give, and give,
Because the throb of giving's sweet to bear.
To you, who never begged me vows or verse,
My gift shall be my absence, while I live;
But after that, my dear, I cannot swear.

By the time you swear you're his,
    Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
    Infinite, undying --
Lady, make a note of this:
    One of you is lying.

My own dear love, he is strong and bold
    And he cares not what comes after.
His words ring sweet as a chime of gold,
    And his eyes are lit with laughter.
He is jubilant as a flag unfurled --
    Oh, a girl, she'd not forget him.
My own dear love, he is all my world --
    And I wish I'd never met him.

My love, he's mad, and my love, he's fleet,
    And a wild young wood-thing bore him!
The ways are fair to his roaming feet,
    And the skies are sunlit for him.
As sharply sweet to my heart he seems
    As the fragrance of acacia.
My own dear love, he is all my dreams --
    And I wish he were in Asia.

My love runs by like a day in June,
    And he makes no friends of sorrows.
He'll tread his galloping rigadoon
    In the pathway of the morrows.
He'll live his days where the sunbeams start
    Nor could storm or wind uproot him.
My own dear love, he is all my heart --
    And I wish somebody'd shoot him.

I do not like my state of mind;
I'm bitter, querulous, unkind.
I hate my legs, I hate my hands,
I do not yearn for lovelier lands.
I dread the dawn's recurrent light;
I hate to go to bed at night.
I snoot at simple, earnest folk.
I cannot take the gentlest joke.
I find no peace in paint or type.
My world is but a lot of tripe.
I'm disillusioned, empty-breasted.
For what I think, I'd be arrested.
I am not sick, I am not well.
My quondam dreams are shot to hell.
My soul is crushed, my spirit sore;
I do not like me any more.
I cavil, quarrel, grumble, grouse.
I ponder on the narrow house.
I shudder at the thought of men . . .
I'm due to fall in love again.

Love has had his way with me.
    This my heart is torn and maimed
Since he took his play with me.
    Cruel well the bow-boy aimed,

Shot, and saw the feathered shaft
    Dripping bright and bitter red.
He that shrugged his wings and laughed --
    Better had he left me dead.

Sweet, why do you plead me, then,
    Who have bled so sore of that?
Could I bear it once again? . . .
    Drop a hat, dear, drop a hat!

I always say, 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.

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.

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.

This level reach of blue is not my sea;
Here are sweet waters, pretty in the sun,
Whose quiet ripples meet obediently
A marked and measured line, one after one.
This is no sea of mine, that humbly laves
Untroubled sands, spread glittering and warm.
I have a need of wilder, crueler waves;
They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.

So let a love beat over me again,
Loosing its million desperate breakers wide;
Sudden and terrible to rise and wane;
Roaring the heavens apart; a reckless tide
That casts upon the heart, as it recedes,
Splinters and spars and dripping, salty weeds.

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.

Now this must be the sweetest place
    From here to heaven's end;
The field is white with 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.

Were you to cross the world, my dear,
    To work or love or fight,
I could be calm and wistful here,
    And close my eyes at night.

It were a sweet and gallant pain
    To be a sea apart;
But, oh, to have you down the lane
    Is bitter to my heart.

I never may turn the loop of a road
    Where sudden, ahead, the sea is lying,
But my heart drags down with an ancient load --
    My heart, that a second before was flying.

I never behold the quivering rain --
    And sweeter the rain than a lover to me --
But my heart is wild in my breast with pain;
    My heart, that was tapping contentedly.

There's never a rose spreads new at my door
    Nor a strange bird crosses the moon at night
But I know I have known its beauty before,
    And a terrible sorrow along with the sight.

The look of a laurel tree birthed for May
    Or a sycamore bared for a new November
Is as old and as sad as my furthest day --
    What is it, what is it, I almost remember?

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