Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE LOVER'S INTERDICT, by ALICE CARY



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THE LOVER'S INTERDICT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Stop, traveler, just a moment at my gate
Last Line: Crush you among the echoes of the song.
Subject(s): Love; Travel


STOP, traveler, just a moment at my gate,
And I will give you news so very sweet
That you will thank me. Where the branches meet
Across your road, and droop, as with the weight
Of shadows laid upon them, pause, I pray,
And turn aside a little from your way.

You see the drooping branches over-spread
With shadows, as I told you -- look you now
To the high elm-tree with the dead white bough
Loose swinging out of joint, and there, with head
Tricked out with scarlet, pouring his wild lay,
You see a blackbird: turn your step that way.

Holding along the honeysuckle hedge,
Make for the meadows lying down so low;
Ah! now I need not say that you must go
No farther than that little silver wedge
Of daisy-land, pushed inward by the flood
Betwixt the hills -- you could not, if you would.

For you will see there, as the sun goes down,
And freckles all the daisy leaves with gold,
A little maiden, in their evening fold
Penning two lambs -- her soft, fawn-colored gown
Tucked over hems of violet, by a hand
Dainty as any lady's in the land.

Such gracious light she will about her bring,
That, when the day, being wedded to the shade,
Wears the moon's circle, blushing, as the maid
Blushes to wear the unused marriagering,
And all the quickened clouds do fall astir
With daffodils, your thoughts will stay with her.

No ornaments but her two sapphire eyes,
And the twin roses in her cheeks that grow,
The nice-set pearls, that make so fine a show
When that she either softly smiles or sighs,
And the long tresses, colored like a bee --
Brown, with a sunlight shimmer. You will see,

When you have cased to watch the airy spring
Of her white feet, a fallen beech hard by,
The yellow earth about the gnarled roots dry,
And if you hide there, you will hear her sing
That song Kit Marlowe made so long ago --
"Come live with me, and be my love," you know.

Dear soul, you would not be at heaven's high gate
Among the larks, that constellated hour,
Nor locked alone in some green-hearted bower
Among the nightingales, being in your fate,
By fortune's sweet selection, graced above
All grace, to hear that -- Come, and be my love!

But when the singer singeth down the sweets
To that most maiden-like and lovely bed --
All out of soft persuasive roses spread --
You must not touch the fair and flowery sheets
Even in your thought! and from your perfect bliss
I furthermore must interdict you this:

When all the wayward mists, because of her,
Lie in their white wings, moveless, on the air,
You must not let the loose net of her hair
Drag your heart to her! nor from hushed breath stir
Out of your sacred hiding. As you guess
She is my love -- this woodland shepherdess.

The cap, the clasps, the kirtle fringed along
With myrtles, as the hand of dear old Kit
Did of his cunning pleasure broider it,
To ornament that dulcet piece of song
Immortalled with refrains of -- Live with me!
These to your fancy, one and all are free.

But, favored traveler, ere you quit my gate,
Promise to hold it, in your mind to be
Enamored only of the melody,
Else will I pray that all yon woody weight
Of branch and shadow, as you pass along,
Crush you among the echoes of the song.





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