The Pearl eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 27 pages of information about The Pearl.

[Footnote 2:  Pearl, stanza 71.]

[Footnote 3:  Par.  VII, II. 17-18; Par.  VIII, I. 15.]

S.J. 
Wellesley college,
June, 1908.

Editions:  R. Morris, Early English text Sc. 1864; I. Gollancz, London, 1891; C.G.  Osgood, Boston, 1906 (with admirable introduction, etc.).  Translations:  Gollancz (above); S. Weir Mitchell, New York, 1906 (poetic, but incomplete); G.G.  Coulton, London, 1906 (metre of the original); C.G.  Osgood, Princeton, 1907 (prose).

THE PEARL

I

Pearl that the Prince full well might prize,
So surely set in shining gold! 
No pearl of Orient with her vies;
To prove her peerless I make bold: 
So round, so radiant to mine eyes,
smooth she seemed, so small to hold,
Among all jewels judges wise
Would count her best an hundred fold. 
Alas!  I lost my pearl of old! 
I pine with heart-pain unforgot;
Down through my arbour grass it rolled,
My own pearl, precious, without spot.

Since in that spot it slipped from me
I wait, and wish, and oft complain;
Once it would bid my sorrow flee,
And my fair fortune turn again;
It wounds my heart now ceaselessly,
And burns my breast with bitter pain. 
Yet never so sweet a song may be
As, this still hour, steals through my brain,
While verity I muse in vain
How clay should her bright beauty clot;
O Earth! a brave gem thou dost stain,
My own pearl, precious, without spot!

Needs must that spot with spices spread,
Where such wealth falleth to decay;
Fair flowers, golden and blue and red,
Shine in the sunlight day by day;
Nor flower nor fruit have withered
On turf wherein such treasure lay;
The blade grows where the grain lies dead,
Else were no ripe wheat stored away;
Of good come good things, so we say,
Then surely such seed faileth not,
But spices spring in sweet array
From my pearl, precious, without spot.

Once, to that spot of which I rhyme,
I entered, in the arbour green,
In August, the high summer-time
When corn is cut with sickles keen;
Upon the mound where my pearl fell,
Tall, shadowing herbs grew bright and sheen,
Gilliflower, ginger and gromwell,
With peonies powdered all between. 
As it was lovely to be seen,
So sweet the fragrance there, I wot,
Worthy her dwelling who hath been
My own pearl, precious, without spot.

Upon that spot my hands I crossed
In prayer, for cold at my heart caught,
And sudden sorrow surged and tossed,
Though reason reconcilement sought. 
I mourned my pearl, dear beyond cost,
And strange fears with my fancy fought;
My will in wretchedness was lost,
And yet Christ comforted my thought. 
Such odours to my sense were brought,
I fell upon that flowery plot,
Sleeping,—­a sleep with dreams inwrought
Of my pearl, precious, without spot.

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The Pearl from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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