Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BALLAD OF AMARYLLIS IN THE SHADE, by RICHARD THOMAS LE GALLIENNE



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BALLAD OF AMARYLLIS IN THE SHADE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Were it not better done - the time being spring
Last Line: "to sport with amaryllis in the shade."


Were it not better done -- the time being Spring --
Grim poet, the iron of whose Cromwellian lyre
Is sistered with so soft a lyric string,
To cast dry wisdom crackling on the fire,
To follow the green pathways of desire,
Where April flutters like a flying maid --
Though others to the topmost stars aspire --
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade?

To rule wouldst thou? -- to be the sorry king
Of this poor kingdom of the fool and liar
We call the world; or, a still stranger thing,
Wouldst swink and sweat, and house thee in the mire,
And sell thy strong soul for a captive's hire,
While tyrants eat, and hear sweet music played?
Were it not better done -- what need inquire? --
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade?

While all is still new blossom and young wing,
And life's a flame still mounting higher and higher,
While still Youth's gold is thine to flaunt and fling,
Heed not dim counsels of some shrivelled sire;
Spake he but sooth, upon the funeral pyre
One dream shall linger as his ashes fade --
Of Love's plumed feet aflame through brake and brier,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade.

ENVOI

My Prince, what better dream should man require
To close his eyes? And I have heard it said
That Death's a garden where we but retire --
"To sport with Amaryllis in the shade."





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