Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LOVE'S ARTIFICE, by JAMES SHERIDAN KNOWLES

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LOVE'S ARTIFICE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I said it was a wilful, wayward thing
Last Line: That it is love, true love -- nothing but love!
Subject(s): Love - Nature Of

I SAID it was a wilful, wayward thing,
And so it is, fantastic and perverse!
Which makes its sport of persons and of seasons,
Takes its own way, no matter right or wrong.
It is the bee that finds the honey out,
Where least you dream't would seek the nectarous store.
And 'tis an errant masker -- this same love --
That most outlandish, freakish faces wears
To hide his own! Looks a proud Spaniard now;
Now a grave Turk; hot Ethiopian next;
And then phlegmatic Englishman; and then
Gay Frenchman; by-and-by Italian, at
All things a song; and in another skip,
Gruff Dutchman; still is love behind the mask!
It is a hypocrite! looks every way
But that where lie its thoughts! will openly
Frown at the thing it smiles in secret on;
Shows most like hate, e'en when it most is love;
Would fain convince you it is very rock
When it is water! ice when it is fire!
Is oft its own dupe, like a thorough cheat;
Persuades itself 'tis not the thing it is;
Holds up its head, pursues its brows, and looks
Askant, with scornful lip, hugging itself
That it is high disdain -- till suddenly
It falls on its knees, making most piteous suit
With hail of tears and hurricane of sighs,
Calling on heaven and earth for witnesses
That it is love, true love -- nothing but love!

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