Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE MAD LOVER, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: My eyes are feverish and dull
Last Line: So moan yourself to death!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Beauty; Death; Kisses; Life; Love - Unrequited; Dead, The
MY eyes are feverish and dull;
I'm tired, and my throat hurts so!
And life has grown so pitiful --
So very pitiful, I know
Not any hope of rest or peace,
But just to live on, ache by ache,
Feeling my heart click on, nor cease,
Nor ever wholly break.
You smiled so sweetly, Miriam Wayne,
I could not help but love your smile,
And fair as sunshine after rain
It glimmered on me all the while;
Why, it did soak as summer light
Through all my life, until, indeed,
I ripened as an apple might
From golden rind to seed.
Fate never wrought so pitiless
An evil, as when first your eyes
Poured back in mine the tenderness
That made the world a Paradise --
For Miriam, remembering
The warm white hands that lay in mine
Like wisps of sunshine vanishing --
Your kisses, spilled like wine
Down over forehead, face and lips,
Till I lay drunken with delight
From crown of soul to finger-tips --
. . . Shriek, Memory, in mad affright! --
Howl at the moon like any hound!
Yelp "love" and "liar" every breath,
And "Heaven is lost and hell is found!"
So moan yourself to death!
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