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Unformatted text preview: are you happier now? -- Always to ask if there prevailed elsewhere Another like yourself that would have held These aged hands as long as you have held them, Not once observing, for all I can see, How they are like your mother's. Well, you have read His letters now, and you have heard me say That in them are the cinders of a passion That was my life; and you have not yet broken Your way out of my house, out of my sight, -- Into the street. You are a strange young man. I know as much as that of you, for certain; And I'm already praying, for your sake, That you be not too strange. Too much of that May lead you bye and bye through gloomy lanes To a sad wilderness, where one may grope Alone, and always, or until he feels Ferocious and invisible animals That wait for men and eat them in the dark. Why do you sit there on the floor so long, Smiling at me while I try to be solemn? Do you not hear it said for your salvation, When I say truth? Are you, at four and twenty, So little deceived in us that you interpret The humor of a woman to be noticed As her choice between you and Acheron? Are you so unscathed yet as to infer That if a woman worries when a man, Or a man-child, has wet shoes on his feet She may as well commemorate with ashes The last eclipse of her tranquillity? If you look up at me and blink again, I shall not have to make you tell me lies To know the letters you have not been reading. I see now that I may have had for nothing A most unpleasant shivering in my conscience When I laid open for your contemplation The wealth of my worn casket. If I did, The fault was not yours wholly. Search again This wreckage we may call for sport a face, And you may chance upon the
52 The Three Taverns A Book of Poems By Edwin Arlington Robinson price of havoc That I have paid for a few sorry stones That shine and have no light -- yet once were stars, And sparkled on a crown. Little and weak They seem; and they are cold, I fear, for you. But they that once were fire for me may not Be cold again for me until I die; And only God knows if they may be then. There is a love that ceases to be love In being ourselves. How, then, are we to lose it? You that are sure that you know everything There is to know of love, answer me that. Well? . . . You are not even interested. Once on a far off time when I was young, I felt with your assurance, and all through me, That I had undergone the last and worst Of love's inventions. There was a boy who brought The sun with him and woke me up with it, And that was every morning; every night I tried to dream of him, but never could, More than I might have seen in Adam's eyes Their fond uncertainty when Eve began The play that all her tireless progeny Are not yet weary of. One scene of it Was brief, but was eternal while it lasted; And that was while I was the happiest Of an imaginary six or seven, Somewhere in history but not on earth, For whom the sky had shaken and let stars Rain down like diamonds. Then there were clouds, And a sad end of diamonds; where...
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