Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, DAMARIS, by ALICE CARY

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DAMARIS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: You know th' forks of th' road
Last Line: The brief delusion can delude no more.
Subject(s): Childhood Memories; Beauty

YOU know th' forks of th' road, and th' brown mill?
And how th' mill-stream, where th' three elms grow,
Flattens its curly head and slips below
That shelf of rocks which juts from out th' hill?

You know th' field of sandstone, red and gray,
Sloped to th' south? and where th' sign-post stands,
Silently lifting up its two black hands
To point th' uneasy traveler on his way?

You must remember the long rippling ridge
Of rye, that cut the level land in two,
And changed from blue to green, from green to blue,
Summer after summer? And th' one-arched bridge,

Under the which, with joy surpassing words,
We stole to see beneath the speckled breast
Of th' wild mother, all the clay-built nest
Set round with shining heads of little birds.

Well, midway 'twixt th' rye-ridge and th' mill,
In the old house with windows to the morn,
The village beauty, Damaris, was born --
There lives, in "maiden meditation," still.

Stop you and mark, if you that way should pass,
The old, familiar quince and apple-trees,
Chafing against the wall with every breeze,
And at the door the flag-stones, set in grass.

There is the sunflower, with her starry face
Leaned to her love; and there, with pride elate,
The prince's-feather -- at th' garden-gate
The green-haired plants, all gracious in their place.

You'll think you have not been an hour away --
Seeing the stones, th' flowers, the knotty trees,
And 'twixt the palings, strings of yellow bees,
Shining like streaks of light -- but, welladay!

If Damaris happen at the modest door,
In gown of silver gray and cap of snow --
Your May-day sweetheart, forty years ago --
The brief delusion can delude no more.

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