The Annoyer

A poem by Nathaniel Parker Willis

Common as light is love,
And its familiar voice wearies not ever.
- Shelley.


Love knoweth every form of air,
And every shape of earth,
And comes, unbidden, everywhere,
Like thought’s mysterious birth.
The moonlit sea and the sunset sky
Are written with Love’s words,
And you hear his voice unceasingly,
Like song in the time of birds.

He peeps into the warrior’s heart
From the tip of a stooping plume
And the serried spears, and the many men,
May not deny him room.
He’ll come to his tent in the weary night,
And be busy in his dream;
And he’ll float to his eye in morning light
Like a fay on a silver beam.

He hears the sound of the hunter’s gun,
And rides on the echo back,
And sighs in his ear, like a stirring leaf,
And flits in his woodland track.
The shade of the wood, and the sheen of the river,
The cloud and the open sky
He will haunt them all with his subtle quiver,
Like the light of your very eye.

The fisher hangs over the leaning boat,
And ponders the silver sea,
For love is under the surface hid,
And a spell of thought has he;
He heaves the wave like a bosom sweet,
And speaks in the ripple low,
’Till the bait is gone from the crafty line,
And the hook hangs bare below.

He blurs the print of the scholar’s book,
And intrudes in the maiden’s prayer,
And profanes the cell of the holy man,
In the shape of a lady fair.
In the darkest night, and the bright daylight,
In earth, and sea, and sky
In every home of human thought,
Will love be lurking nigh.

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