Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A VINDICATION, by GEORGE BARLOW (1847-1913)

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A VINDICATION, by                
First Line: I claim the eternal right to love, without conditions
Last Line: Till he restored thee, smiling, unto me.
Subject(s): Future Life; Hearts; Love; Passion; Retribution; Eternity; After Life


I claim the eternal right to love,—without conditions.
To crown thee with my love, and crown thee with love's visions,
Though all men stand i' the way.
Oh, is not Love enough? If in a golden carriage,
Sweet, thou wast drawn along, towards a golden marriage,
Could Love have more triumphant words to say?


I love thee with my soul. Heaven knows I love thee truly.
Each time I see thy face, the tide of love flows newly
Round laughing happier shores.
Each time I see thine eyes, my soul bursts into gladness
And every swift pulse throbs with passion's mirth and madness,
And all the poethood within me adores.


What do I give? Why, love. And, if a prince besought thee
And to his gilded house of regal pleasure brought thee,
Could he do more than I?
Is there in this wild world one great exceeding treasure
That hath, like passionate love, nor bound nor mate nor measure,
Spreading wide wings co-equal with the sky?


Ah! marriage hath its gifts. It hath its pleasures waiting:
Rich jewels and priceless robes,—and life behind a grating:—
Rubies,—and prison-bars:—
Bright emeralds, diamonds, pearls,—yet never love's free laughter:—
Rank, wealth, and friends,—and deep heart-sickness following after:—
Gay frescoed walls and ceilings,—not the stars.


Have others prayed to be so pure that prayer might aid thee?
Have others at thy gate lest hostile spears invade thee
Watched, night on night indeed?
Who yearns as I have yearned? Who follows as I follow?—
Has love no awful rights when all rights else ring hollow?—
Is love not just the crown of Christ's own creed?—


Who has seen thy soul but I? Who of the men who watch thee,
O flower of mine, and from thy dainty stem would snatch thee,
Wear,—tire,—then cast away—
Which of them all has loved, or will love, as I love thee?
Would bend for sacred hours, O fairy flower, above thee,—
Yet leave thee smiling on thy parent spray?


Nay, the soul knows the soul. Of all things sad and deadly
To yield a woman back into life's loveless medley
When once the souls have met
Is just the deadliest and saddest and most grievous:
The very stars cry out "For God's sake do not leave us!"
When once Love's soul-kiss on their lips is set.


The deep soul sees the soul. A man knows when a woman,
Beyond all laws and rules and tests and quibbles human,
Belongs, through the great might
Of his own fiery love all laws, save Love's, transcending,
To him. He knows light love: and love which hath no ending.
Love boundless gives infinity of right.


Why should I give thee up? Why should I, the possessor
Of thy sweet spirit and heart, yield up to any lesser
And weaker lover than I
These spotless priceless gifts,—in that I have no power
To give thee more than love's imperishable flower
And for thy sake to yearn and battle,—and die?


"No greater love is there than this,"—that love be willing
To spend its very life, its sacred life-blood spilling
Just for another's sake.
No greater love hath woman than that a man be ready
To stand before her door till death, a sentry steady;
Lest any foe therein an entrance make.


I stand before thy door. Never shall foeman enter
Till fifty spears have made my guardian heart their centre
Or targeted my brain.
As long as thou dost need thy sentry, thou wilt find me:
Were there an army in front, thou wouldst be safe behind me:
Safe,—till they slew me:—and then God would remain.


God then would take my shield, and on thy threshold standing
Would carry on the strife. My own death notwithstanding,
Thou wouldst be safe: for he
With all the holy and loyal great manhood of a brother
Unto the very death would wrestle with every other
Till he restored thee, smiling, unto me.

Discover our poem explanations - click here!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net