Fly Leaves eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 55 pages of information about Fly Leaves.


I know not if in others’ eyes
   She seem’d almost divine;
But far beyond a doubt it lies
   That she did not in mine.

Each common stone on which she trod
   I did not deem a pearl: 
Nay it is not a little odd
   How I abhorr’d that girl.

We met at balls and picnics oft,
   Or on a drawingroom stair;
My aunt invariably cough’d
   To warn me she was there: 

At croquet I was bid remark
   How queenly was her pose,
As with stern glee she drew the dark
   Blue ball beneath her toes,

And made the Red fly many a foot: 
   Then calmly she would stoop,
Smiling an angel smile, to put
   A partner through his hoop.

At archery I was made observe
   That others aim’d more near. 
But none so tenderly could curve
   The elbow round the ear: 

Or if we rode, perhaps she did
   Pull sharply at the curb;
But then the way in which she slid
   From horseback was superb!

She’d throw off odes, again, whose flow
   And fire were more than Sapphic;
Her voice was sweet, and very low;
   Her singing quite seraphic: 

She was a seraph, lacking wings. 
   That much I freely own. 
But, it is one of those queer things
   Whose cause is all unknown —

(Such are the wasp, the household fly,
   The shapes that crawl and curl
By men called centipedes)—­that I
   Simply abhorred that girl.

* * *

No doubt some mystery underlies
   All things which are and which are not: 
And ’tis the function of the Wise
   Not to expound to us what is what,

But let his consciousness play round
   The matter, and at ease evolve
The problem, shallow or profound,
   Which our poor wits have fail’d to solve,

Then tell us blandly we are fools;
   Whereof we were aware before: 
That truth they taught us at the schools,
   And p’raps (who knows?) a little more.

- But why did we two disagree? 
   Our tastes, it may be, did not dovetail: 
All I know is, we ne’er shall be
   Hero and heroine of a love-tale.


O memory! that which I gave thee
   To guard in thy garner yestreen —
Little deeming thou e’er could’st behave thee
   Thus basely—­hath gone from thee clean! 
Gone, fled, as ere autumn is ended
   The yellow leaves flee from the oak —
I have lost it for ever, my splendid
      Original joke.

What was it?  I know I was brushing
   My hair when the notion occurred: 
I know that I felt myself blushing
   As I thought, “How supremely absurd! 
“How they’ll hammer on floor and on table
   As its drollery dawns on them—­how
They will quote it”—­I wish I were able
      To quote it just now.

Project Gutenberg
Fly Leaves from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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