Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FIFTEEN AND FIFTY, by ALICE CARY



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FIFTEEN AND FIFTY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Come, darling, put your frown aside!
Last Line: When thus you tyrannize.
Subject(s): Middle Age; Youth


COME, darling, put your frown aside!
I own my fault, 't is true, 't is true,
There is one picture that I hide,
Even away from you!

Why, then, I do not love you? Nay,
You wrong me there, my pretty one:
Remember you are in your May;
My summer days are done,

My autumn days are come, in truth,
And blighting frosts begin to fall;
You are the sunny light of youth,
That glorifies it all.

Even when winter clouds shall break
In storms, I shall not mind, my dear,
For you within my heart shall make
The springtime of the year!

In short, life did its best for me,
When first our paths together ran;
But I had lived, you will agree,
One life, ere yours began.

I must have smiled, I must have wept,
Ere mirth or moan could do you wrong;
But come, and see the picture, kept
Hidden away so long!

The walk will not be strange nor far, --
Across the meadow, toward the tree
From whose thick top one silver star
Uplifting slow, you see.

So darling, we have gained the hight
Where lights and shadows softly meet;
Rest you a moment, -- full in sight,
My picture lies complete.

A hill-side dark, with woods behind,
A strip of emerald grass before, --
A homely house; some trees that blind
Window, and wall, and door.

A singing streamlet, -- either side
Bordered with flowers, geraniums gay,
And pinks, with red mouths open wide
For sunshine, all the day.

A tasseled corn field on one hand,
And on the other meadows green,
With angles of bright harvest bend
Wedged sunnily between.

A world of smiling ways and walks,
The hop-vines twisting through the pales,
The crimson cups o' the hollyhocks,
The lilies, in white veils;

The porch with morning-glories gay,
And sunken step, the well-sweep tall,
The barn, with roof 'twixt black and gray,
And warpt, wind-shaken wall;

The garden with the fence of stone,
The lane so dusky at the close,
The door-yard gate all overgrown
With one wild smothering rose;

The honeysuckle that has blown
His trumpet till his throat is red,
And the wild swallow, mateless flown
Under the lonesome shed;

The corn, with bean-pods showing through,
The fields that to the sunset lean,
The crooked paths along the dew,
Telling of flocks unseen.

The bird in scarlet-colored coat
Flying about the apple-tree;
The new moon in her shallow boat,
Sailing alone, you see;

The aspen at the window-pane, --
The pair of bluebirds on the peach, --
The yellow waves of ripening grain, --
You see them all and each.

The shadows stretching to the door,
From far-off hills, and nearer trees,
I cannot show you any more, --
The landscape holds but these.

And yet, my darling, after all
'T is not my picture you behold;
Your house is ruined near to fall, --
Your flowers are dew and mould.

I wish that you could only see,
While the glad garden shines its best,
The little rose that was to me
The queen of all the rest.

The bluebirds, -- he with scarlet wings, --
The silver brook, the sunset glow,
To me are but the signs of things
The landscape cannot show.

That old house was our home -- not ours!
You were not born -- how could it be?
That window where you see the flowers,
Is where she watched for me,

So pale, so patient, night by night,
Her eyes upon this pathway here,
Until at last I came in sight, --
Nay, do not frown, my dear,

That was another world! and so
Between us there can be no strife;
I was but twenty, you must know,
And she my baby-wife!

Twin violets by a shady brook
Were like her eyes, -- their beauteousness
Was in a rainy, moonlight look
Of tears and tenderness.

Her fingers had a dewy touch;
Grace was in all her modest ways;
Forgive my praising her so much, --
She cannot hear my praise.

Beneath the window where you see
The trembling, tearful flowers, she lay,
Her arms as if they reached for me, --
Her hair put smooth away.

The closed mouth still smiling sweet,
The waxen eyelids, drooping low,
The marriage-slippers on the feet, --
The marriage-dress of snow!

And still, as in my dreams, I do,
I kiss the sweet white hands, the eyes;
My heart with pain is broken anew,
My soul with sorrow dies.

It was, they said, her spirit's birth, --
That she was gone, a saint to be;
Alas! a poor, pale piece of earth
Was all that I could see.

In tears, my darling! that fair brow
With jealous shadows overrun?
A score of flowers upon one bough
May bloom as well as one!

This ragged bush, from spring to fall
Stands here with living glories lit;
And every flower a-blush, with all
That doth belong to it!

Look on it! learn the lesson then, --
No more than we evoke, is ours!
The great law holdeth good with men,
The same as with the flowers.

And if that lost, that sweet white hand
Had never blessed me with its light,
You had not been, you understand,
More than you are to-night.

This foolish pride that women have
To play upon us, -- to enthrall,
To absorb, doth hinder what they crave, --
Their being loved at all!

Never the mistress of the arts
They practice on us, still again
And o'er again, they wring our hearts
With pain that giveth pain!

They make their tyranny a boast,
And in their petulance will not see
That he is always bound the most,
Who in the most is free!

They prize us more for what they screen
From censure, than for what is best;
And you, my darling, at fifteen,
Why, you are like the rest!

Your arms would find me now, though I
Were low as ever guilt can fall;
And that, my little love, is why
I love you, after all!

Smiling! "the pain is worth the cost,
That wins a homily so wise?"
Ah, little tyrant, I am lost,
When thus you tyrannize.





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