Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, COMPELLING LOVE, by ROBERT UNDERWOOD JOHNSON



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COMPELLING LOVE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I sing not love prose-mated
Last Line: The song without the cage.


I SING not Love prose-mated
With Pride or Sense, soon sated,
Where give and take are rated
In terms of bargain-buyer;
Nor Love that sells her dearly
For so much shelter yearly,
As Cupid's torch were merely
To light the kitchen fire;

Nor Love that lingers, longing,
In reasoned absence, wronging
The soul's desires, thronging
As pleading angels bend;
Nor Love that never misses
The mate's estranged kisses,
And is, of former blisses,
Content to keep -- a friend;

Nor prudish Love repressive
That, lest it seem aggressive,
With modesty excessive
Deems maiden more than wife;
Nor Love that fain would fetter
The spirit with the letter,
As there were something better
Than holy human life.

But Love, of Fate elected,
That, coming unexpected,
Can never be rejected --
The sea no shore can stop;
That waits not to be bidden,
And answers not when chidden,
And can no more be hidden
Than flame on mountain-top.

Such Love need not beleaguer
A garrison so meager
With its commander eager
To say the craven word, --
Who prays not heaven to send her
A champion to defend her,
Rejoicing to surrender
When Love's demand is heard.

Give me the Love O'erflowing,
The fond eye's fervent glowing,
The tranced heart out-going
To meet both soul and sense;
The Love whose years are reckoned
By day, by hour, by second
When some new wonder beckoned
To some new joy intense.

No calculated passion
Of artificial fashion,
But nature's daily ration --
The feast of Youth and Age;
Defying Time's estranging
Untiring and unchanging,
Without a thought of ranging --
The song without the cage.





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