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
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.