TO THE ELEVEN LADIES WHO PRESENTED ME WITH A SILVER LOVING CUP ON THE TWENTY-NINTH OF AUGUST, M DCCC LXXXIX
"WHO gave this cup?" The secret thou wouldst stealIts brimming flood forbids it to reveal:No mortal's eye shall read it till he firstCool the red throat of thirst.
If on the golden floor one draught remain,Trust me, thy careful search will be in vain;Not till the bowl is emptied shalt thou knowThe names enrolled below.
Deeper than Truth lies buried in her wellThose modest names the graven letters spellHide from the sight; but wait, and thou shalt seeWho the good angels be.
Whose bounty glistens in the beauteous giftThat friendly hands to loving lips shall liftTurn the fair goblet when its floor is dry,—Their names shall meet thine eye.
Count thou their number on the beads of HeavenAlas! the clustered Pleiads are but seven;Nay, the nine sister Muses are too few,—The Graces must add two.
"For whom this gift?" For one who all too longClings to his bough among the groves of song;Autumn's last leaf, that spreads its faded wingTo greet a second spring.
Dear friends, kind friends, whate'er the cup may hold,Bathing its burnished depths, will change to goldIts last bright drop let thirsty Maenads drain,Its fragrance will remain.
Better love's perfume in the empty bowlThan wine's nepenthe for the aching soul;Sweeter than song that ever poet sung,It makes an old heart young!THE PEAU DE CHAGRIN OF STATE STREET
How beauteous is the bondIn the manifold arrayOf its promises to pay,While the eight per cent it givesAnd the rate at which one livesCorrespond!
But at last the bough is bareWhere the coupons one by oneThrough their ripening days have run,And the bond, a beggar now,Seeks investment anyhow,Anywhere!CACOETHES SCRIBENDI
IF all the trees in all the woods were men;And each and every blade of grass a pen;If every leaf on every shrub and treeTurned to a sheet of foolscap; every seaWere changed to ink, and all earth's living tribesHad nothing else to do but act as scribes,And for ten thousand ages, day and night,The human race should write, and write, and write,Till all the pens and paper were used up,And the huge inkstand was an empty cup,Still would the scribblers clustered round its brinkCall for more pens, more paper, and more ink.THE ROSE AND THE FERN
LADY, life's sweetest lesson wouldst thou learn,Come thou with me to Love's enchanted bowerHigh overhead the trellised roses burn;Beneath thy feet behold the feathery fern,—A leaf without a flower.
What though the rose leaves fall? They still are sweet,And have been lovely in their beauteous prime,While the bare frond seems ever to repeat,"For us no bud, no blossom, wakes to greetThe joyous flowering time!"
Heed thou the lesson. Life has leaves to treadAnd flowers to cherish; summer round thee glows;Wait not till autumn's fading robes are shed,But while its petals still are burning redGather life's full-blown rose!I LIKE YOU AND I LOVE YOU
I LIKE YOU Met I LOVE You, face to face;The path was narrow, and they could not pass....