Thursday, June 30, 2016

GIVE ME NOT LOVE, a poem

GIVE me not love that would enthrall
     A spirit panting to be free;
But give me love which more than all
     Would find it sweet to soar with me!
The bird that close to earth doth cling,
May, darkling, be content to sing,
But full the sunlight shines afar—
And there be heights where eagles are.

Give me not love which hour by hour,
     Like to the rose, doth pale its hue;
But love still constant as the flower
     That opens to each morn anew;
Not love which, shadowed by the tomb,
A little space doth languid bloom,
But love that draws its deeper breath
From altitudes that know not death.
"Give Me Not Love" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Atlantic Monthly (June 1903), Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

THE YOUNG WIFE SPEAKS, a poem

HAPPINESS is everywhere!—
On the earth and in the air,
With the bloom and with the bee,
With the bird that wingeth free!
Happiness is everywhere!—
And it binds my heart to thee.

"Everywhere are pain and woe"?
Ay, belovéd, that I know:
None from grief is wholly free,—
It doth even visit me!
Yet to grief I something owe,
For it closer binds to thee!

Laughter have we shared and tears,—
Knowest thou which more endears?
Tell me truly! I would be
Wise indeed to choose, nor flee
Aught in all the gift of years
That would bind my heart to thee!
"The Young Wife Speaks" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912).

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

THE YOUNG WIFE, a poem

Edwardian Woman on the Beach (1900)
by Thomas Pollock Anshutz
Wikimedia

SHE leaned above the river's sedgy brink—
The little wife—half-minded there to drink
Forgetfulness of all the grief and pride
That overwhelmed her spirit like a tide.

She had so blindly trusted!  Yet doubt grew—
Whence it had sprung, alas! she hardly knew,—
A hydra-headed monster that devoured
Her happiness ere fully it had flowered.

He who had been her truth!—could he betray?
"Ah, let me die," she cried, "or quickly stay,
Thou who bestowed, unasked, this gift of breath,
Imaginings more terrible than death!"

Lone and forespent, she leaned her heavily
Against a willow; when she seemed to see—
Doubting if that indeed she saw or dreamed,
So full of mystery the vision seemed—

A form unknown, ineffable in grace,
With look compassionate bent on her face.
"Thy tears have moved the Heart Omnipotent,
Wherefore I come, to thee in pity sent,—"

So, as she thought, the wondrous vision spake,—
"To serve thee, if I may, e'en though I make
Confession, grievous unto me, who know
My folly was forgiven long ago. . . .

"A youth was I who fondly pleasure sought,
Careless to ask how dearly it was bought;
Who passed my days in idleness, nor guessed
How close the coils of evil round me pressed,

"Till, like some swimmer boastful of his strength
Who dares too far, I faced the truth at length—
Perceived the awful distance I had come,
And, battling back, despaired of reaching home.

"Then I had perished in my utter need,
Had no one trusted me beyond my meed;
But—I reached port at last, my fate withstood,
Because one woman still believed me good."

Softly the vision faded, and was gone.
The young wife by the river stood alone;
Musing, she lingered there a little while,
And to her pensive lips there came a smile.
"The Young Wife" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Lyrics of Life (1909).

Monday, June 27, 2016

BETROTHAL, a poem

BOTH your hands? . . . What mean they, dear?
I, unworthy,—dare I claim you?
Then, against the world, I hold you:
Mine—forever mine!

Men have waked from dreams of joy:
Teach me to believe this rapture!
Lift your eyes! O my beloved,
Let me read your heart!

Is it true? . . . Ah, me! those eyes!
How divinely kind!—how tender!
Doubt itself could not distrust them,
Or resist their light!

Dear, without you, I have been
Poorer than the humblest beggar
Who against your door at nightfall
Kneeling, asked for bread:

I have gazed upon your face
And have felt such fear oppress me
That I trembled. From this moment,
Nothing fear I more!

For whatever perils come,
Nothing henceforth can divide us;
Neither follies nor ambitions—
Neither joys nor tears:

Never can you go so far
That my love shall fail to find you;
Seeking ever to deserve you,
Upward striving still;

And though seas should lie between,
I shall feel that you are near me:
In the twilight and night-season
I shall hear your voice.
"Betrothal" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in Mine and Thine (1904) and Poems (1916) Volume I.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

ON RE-READING "THE SICK KING IN BOKHARA", a poem

AS one grows weary dragging at the chain
Of circumstance which, unrelentingly,
Binds him to futile, joyless drudgery,
Far from the skyey paths youth thought to gain;
Though mocked by hope and teased by self-disdain,
Forgets his griefs in wingéd sympathy
When one more blest and worthier to be free
Triumphant rises from earth's sordid plain;
So, to this fragrant oriental story—
Bright, in the midst of old-world wretchedness,
With love's benignant and eternal glory—
We turn who fevered and athirst have dwelt
In desert places and with tears confess
How deeply he who wrote has thought for man—and felt.
Germantown, Penn., June, 1886.
"On Re-reading 'The Sick King in Bokhara'" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Literary World (26 June 1886).

Saturday, June 25, 2016

THE POETRY OF EARTH, a poem

"The poetry of earth is never dead."—Keats.

THERE is always room for beauty: memory
     A myriad lovely blossoms may enclose,
But, whatsoe'er hath been, there still must be
     Room for another rose.

Though skylark, throstle, whitethroat, whip-poor-will,
     And nightingale earth's echoing chantries throng,
When comes another singer, there will be
     Room for another song.
"The Poetry of Earth" by Florence Earle Coates. Published in The Unconquered Air (1912) and Poems (1916) Volume I.