Lovelace Grown Old

A poem by Theodosia Garrison

I

My life has been like a bee that roves
Through a scented garden close,
And 'tis I who have kept the honey of love,
The hoarded sweetness and scent thereof,
For all I forget the rose.

Oh, exquisite gardens long forgot
That have made my store complete,
Though winter fall upon blossom and bee,
Yet the kisses I garnered remain with me
Forever and ever sweet.


II

The Priest hath had his word and said his say--
A word i' faith more honest than beguiling--
But now he turns upon his gloomy way--
Good soul, he leaves me smiling.

I may not ponder much on future wrath;
Of all those loves of mine, some six or seven,
Surely ere this have climbed that thorny path
That leads at last to Heaven.

My bold, brown beauties, eh, my delicate
And golden damsels with uncensuring eyes,
Not long once did you make your Lovelace wait
Outside of Paradise.

Much am I minded of a certain night--
A night of moon and drifting clouds that hid
The convent wall from overmuch of light
Whereby one watched forbid.

Watched, till he heard within the trembling sound
Of white, girl fingers on the rusting key
That turned her heart as well, till each unbound
Let in felicity.

Ah well, I have small fear--her eyes were blue;
Blue eyes remember though it cost them tears.
Who knows but that same hand shall lead me through
Another Gate of Fears.

In the same fashion, brave, yet most afraid,
Bold for her love yet trembling for her sin--
So, Saints were tricked before. My blue-eyed maid,
Be there to let me in.


III

Since I loved you for a day--Ah, a day, the fleetest--
Since I sighed and rode away when our love was sweetest,
So shall you remember me, now that youth is over,
Fairly, of your courtesy, as your fondest lover.

Since I turned and said good-bye when my heart was truest,
Since we parted, you and I, when our joy was newest,
Love might never turn to doubt and from doubt to scorning.
We but lived his sweetness out twixt a night and morning.

So shall you remember me, eager in pursuing,
Faithful as a man must be in his time o' wooing.
Greater loves but stay and pine so, now youth is over,
Smiling shall you think of mine--mine, your fondest lover.

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