Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE NEGLECTED HEART, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON



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THE NEGLECTED HEART, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: This heart, you would not have
Last Line: "bless thyself: but enter not!"
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Love - Unrequited


THIS heart, you would not have,
I laid up in a grave
Of song: with love enwound it;
And set sweet fancies blowing round it.
Then I to others gave it;
Because you would not have it.
"See you keep it well," I said;
"This heart's sleeping -- is not dead;
But will wake some future day:
See you keep it while you may."

All great Sorrows in the world, --
Some with crowns upon their heads,
And in regal purple furled;
Some with rosaries and beads;
Some with lips of scorning, curled
At false Fortune; some, in weeds
Of mourning and of widowhood,
Standing tearful and apart, --
Each one in his several mood,
Came to take my heart.

Then in holy ground they set it:
With melodious weepings wet it:
And revered it as they found it,
With wild fancies blowing round it.

And this heart (you would not have)
Being not dead, though in the grave,
Worked miracles and marvels strange,
And healed many maladies:
Giving sight to sealed-up eyes,
And legs to lame men sick for change.

The fame of it grew great and greater.
Then said you, "Ah, what's the matter?
How hath this heart I would not take,
This weak heart a child might break --
This poor, foolish heart of his --
Since won worship such as this?"

You bethought you then... "Ah me
What if this heart, I did not choose
To retain, hath found the key
Of the kingdom? and I lose
A great power? Me he gave it:
Mine the right, and I will have it."

Ah, too late! For crowds exclaimed,
"Ours it is: and hath been claimed.
Moreover, where it lies, the spot
Is holy ground: so enter not.
None but men of mournful mind, --
Men to darkened days resigned;
Equal scorn of Saint and Devil;
Poor and outeast; halt and blind;
Exiles from Life's golden revel;
Gnawing at the bitter rind
Of old griefs; or else, confined
In proud cares, to serve and grind, --
May enter: whom this heart shall cure.
But go thou by: thou art not poor:
Nor defrauded of thy lot:
Bless thyself: but enter not!"





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