Friday, October 16, 2015


(After the Irish)

Do not marry, Breed, asthore !
That old man whose head is hoar
As the winter, but instead
Mate with some young curly-head
He will give to you a child,
He will never leave your side,
And at morning when you wake
Kiss for kiss will give and take.

I wish that I had died, I do,
Before I gave my love to you ;
Love so lasting that it will
While I live be with you still :
And for it what do I get ?
Pain and trouble and regret,
The terrors of the aspen-tree
Which the wind shakes fearfully.

If this country could be seen
As it ought—then you had been
Living in a castle grand
With the ladies of the land :
The friend and foe, the Gael and Gaul,
Would be cheering, one and all,
For yourself, and, this is true,
I would be along with you.

You promised, 'twas a lie, I see,
When you said you'd come to me
At the sheep-cote; I was there
And I whistled on the air,
And I gave our settled call
But you were not there at all !
There was nothing anywhere
But lambs and birds and sunny air.

When it is dark you pass me by,
And when the sun is in the sky
You pass me also—night or day
You look away, you walk away !
But if you would come to me,
And say the word of courtesy,
I would close the door, and then
I'd never let you out again.

But do not marry, Breed, asthore !
That old man ; his heart is hoar
As his head is : you can see
Winter gripping at his knee :
His eyes and ears are blear and dim,
How can you expect of him
To see or hear or pleasure you
Half as well as I would do ?

Here are Ladies [1913]