‘Tell me of all you have done, if
I cry, as the pretty smoke lightly curls;
’I want to hear of the life of a man
I, who only know of the life of girls!’
He shakes his head with a smile and a
The smoke curling round it with idle aim;
He is like the picture of some young god,
Who, from painted clouds, looks out of a frame.
’The life of a girl is a fairy thing,
With a sweetness none can wish to forget,
Caught from a snowdrop in earliest spring
Or the first faint breath of a violet;
The life of a man, as it is and was,
Is like autumn leaves decaying and dead,
With a flavour of bad theatrical gas,
And of last night’s banquet,’ my husband said.
I laugh’d at the gay nonsensical
In my merry pride at being his wife;
I sat at his feet, and I bade him teach
A neophyte out of his noble life.
He mutter’d ‘My noble life!’
with a frown,
’With noble lives I have little to do;
My dear, put those frivolous notions down,
I am but a man, and a weak one too.
My life has been full of confounded things,
I am only a man, like other men;
But we hear a flutter of angel-wings,
And our demons forsake us, there and then.
In marrying thee, my innocent sprite,
I had caught a glimpse of a purer joy;
I turn’d a new page, and the page was white;
I’m quite determin’d to be a good boy!’
His hand sought my head with a careless grace,
And the sun shone suddenly out on us;
O gracious and sweet was my Harry’s face,—
Why should a hero belie himself thus?
When turf is level how rapid the pace!
Linger ye moments!—be patient my life!
Marriage is only an idyl of grace,
What knows a bride of the bliss of a wife?
Are all things the dearer for growing
As flowers are sweeter deep in a wood;
Will the warmth of May in July seem cold?
Was earth less perfect when God call’d it ‘good’?
Even roses when young are only green,
And the exquisite perfume faint and small,
If roses are lovely when just half seen,
When blown they are sweetest and best of all.
Time passes on, and they open too
Still the rich fragrance about them is shed;
Delicate petals fall off with a touch;
Happy and mourn’d for, the roses are dead!
And when we die (if death ever
Life leaping in me, it sounds like a jest),
May it be thus with my Harry and me—
Love’s latest perfume its sweetest and best.
He, whom I speak to, smiles into my face,
Crying, with kisses, that life would restore,
’All that you say has a feminine grace;
But hasn’t Moore said something like it before?’