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Francis Howard Williams.

The flute-player and other poems online

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I had no heart for books or art

Or labor of the scholars,
So crept to bed, with aching head,
And dreamed of dust and dollars.

Upon the lawn, at early dawn,

A robin fluted sweetly,
He sang to me so joyfully

That up I rose all fleetly ;
Then out I went and all day spent

Amid the April greening,
Came back at night, enamored quite

Of nature and her meaning.



122 Cupid and Justice.



CUPID AND JUSTICE.

*T^HE little God of Love one day

While walking chanced to lose his way,
And being, as the poets say,

Incapable of seeing,
Flung himself prone upon the grass,
To wait until some friend should pass.
And, as he lay, a comely lass

Adown the road came fleeing.

Her face was fair, her temples white,
And tho' her step was soft and light,
She too, alas ! had lost her sight,

And moved a trifle slowly ;
She too, alas ! had lost her way,
And, ever going more astray,
Soon came to where the Love-God lay

Among the grasses lowly.

Then Love uprose, with just a trace
Of mischief on his handsome face,
And said : " My lady, grant me grace

That I appear so stupid ;
But may I beg to know your name ? "
"I am called Justice," said the dame,
Then blushed, as low his answer came :

"And, madam, / am Cupid."



A Rondeau of Vassar. 123

He lisped sweet nothings in her ear,

She frowned, yet could not choose but hear ;

And tho' she strove to look severe,

Her heart was in a flurry.
Too late they learned the Fates designed
They nevermore their way should find,
For neither knew the other blind,

And both were in a hurry.



A RONDEAU OF VASSAR.

H, Vassar girl, who fain would rise
Superior to Love's charming lies ;
You who prefer the themes that be
Modelled on Kant's philosophy ;
Potential ballots in your eyes,

And bridge of nose, judicial, wise
In fact a very Bridge of Size
And intellectuality,
Oh, Vassar girl !

You 're fair, yet from you Cupid flies

With cramps as though he 'd dined on pies ;

For, suaviter in modo, he

Finds you too fortiter in re,
And so to lesser culture hies,
Oh, Vassar girl !



124 Ballade to a Bookman.



EVOLUTION OF THE POET.

~\X fHEN dryads lived and sought to brim

Ladona to the sparkling spring
Where shaggy Pan was wont to sit
And pipe his ditties, poets writ
With pens plucked from the swelling wing
Of Pegasus, nor felt the sting
Hid in the average critic's fling :
Poeta nascitur non fit,
When dryads lived.

But nowadays the proper thing
Is first to get within the ring,
And, having made a single hit,
An ounce of sense, a grain of wit,
Will do the rest ; no need to sing
" When dryads lived."



BALLADE TO A BOOKMAN.

/CROTCHETY delver in books,

^^ Hater of all that is new,

Seeker of cosiest nooks

Known to the favorite few,
Why should you ever ask who

Fateward defiance hath hurled ?
Delver in books it is you

You who have conquered the world.



A Rondeau in Reply. 125

Snuffy old fellow, whose looks

Hint of a wig and a queue,
Scorning the cates of the cooks

For a pewter of ale and a stew,

Why should you ever be blue,
Seeing that runnels have purled,

Since the beginning, for you
You who have conquered the world ?

Intimate friend of Home Tooke's,

Chum of the Wandering Jew,
Rating reformers as " crooks "

And lovers as enfants perdus,

Why should you ever pursue
Ways of the folk who are swirled

Into the popular view
You who have conquered the world ?

ENVOI.

Dream, as you ruminate through
Smoke into canopies curled ;

Dream, for you Ve nothing to do
You who have conquered the world.



A RONDEAU IN REPLY.

T N fallow fields I long to lie
A bookman lost in Arcady ;
Or, steeped in grasses to the knees,
To follow fast where fancy flees ;



1 26 Ballade.

Though musty lore and legend die,
I 'd give my conquered world to sigh
An answer to the lullaby

Hot-hummed by honey-loaden bees
In fallow fields.

A-dream 'neath circumambient sky,
To list the crow's remoter cry,

The while the love-begetting breeze
Flutters the leafy hearts of trees
And turns the heads of foolish rye
In fallow fields.



BALLADE.

TV/TAIDEN, if within thy breast
*** Lurks the trust that thou shalt seize
From life's love the purest, best,
Quaffing nectar, while the lees
Mingle not ; upon thy knees
Quickly fall for guidance. Never

Dally with false dreams that please ;
Love and wine deceive us ever.

Youth, who, at the soft behest
Of the ruddy wine-cup, ease

And the sense of being blest
Seekest, know thy destinies
But await fulfilment ; these

Shall not stay though thou be clever ;



Rondeau. \ 27

Follows fate where fortune flees ;
Love and wine deceive us ever.

Lover, who, upon the crest

Of the waves of Paphian seas,
Think'st to find ecstatic rest

Mid love's charms and panoplies,

Drown thy dreams in medias res ;
Happiness waits on endeavor ;

Joys unearned are miseries ;
Love and wine deceive us ever.

ENVOI.

Youths and maids of all degrees,

Heads must learn though hearts should sever ;
Butterflies have stings of bees ;

Love and wine deceive us ever.



RONDEAU.

T N days of old, when gods divine
" Quaffed potent draughts of golden wine
From crystal goblets, and in glee
Sported with dolphins in the sea,
Or strayed beneath the oak and pine,

The poet but waited for a sign,
And through his pen the immortal Nine
Spake all delicious things that be
In days of old.



128 Rondeau.

But now the gods have grown so fine
They keep at home, and not a line
The muses give to you and me ;
But, having come to drinking tea,
Lose brilliance, and so only shine
In days of old.

THE END.






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Online LibraryFrancis Howard WilliamsThe flute-player and other poems → online text (page 5 of 5)