Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, PSYCHE, by WILLIAM ALLEN BUTLER



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PSYCHE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: This young woman is psyche, of whom you've
Last Line: Is a restless, dissatisfied, fugitive guest.
Subject(s): Cupid; Goddesses & Gods; Immortality; Mythology; Psyche (Mythology); Eros


THIS young woman is Psyche, of whom you've heard tell,
A very well-known Mythological belle,
Whom Cupid was sweet on, but that gay young spark
Never paid her a visit except in the dark;
Knowing well 'twould be fatal should Psyche discover
She, a poor child of Earth, had a god for a lover;
But Psyche, much wishing to see and be seen,
One night filled her lamp with the best kerosene,
Then lit it while Cupid was napping and took
What she meant for a sly, introductory look,
But the beauty celestial which burst on her view
Quite upset the damsel—upset her lamp, too—
Cupid didn't "strike oil," but the hot oil struck Cupid.
He awoke with a start. Psyche cried, "Oh, how stupid!
I didn't intend"—but her lover had vanished,
And all her bright dreams of the future were banished.
Still that glimpse gave an image that Fate could not spoil;
She had, you might say, Cupid's portrait in oil;
On that image she lived; over mountain and plain
Went searching for Cupid, but searching in vain;
Not in city or country, in valley or grove,
Could she find the least trace of her long vanished love.
Not on Earth or in Time was the vision renewed,
Though so earnestly sought and so sadly pursued,
Till great Jove, looking down with compassionate eye,
Made Psyche immortal, and there, in the sky,
The lover, long lost, was restored to her sight,
And her lamp was rekindled in heaven's own light!

Now our fancies at once to plain truth to recall,
There was no such person as Psyche at all;
And she never had oil, nor a lamp, nor a lover,
And a myth and a fable is all there was of her;
So by this bronze figure the truth you may reach,
That Psyche herself was a "figure of speech"!
A fair type of the soul in its human estate,
In its longings and struggles with Fortune and Fate,
Reflecting the mood you so often have had,
More pensive than painful, more silent than sad,
When you feel that the soul throbbing there in your breast,
Is a restless, dissatisfied, fugitive guest.





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