To An Intrusive Butterfly.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

"Kill not--for Pity's sake--and lest ye slay
The meanest thing upon its upward way."
Five Rules of Buddha.


I watch you through the garden walks,
I watch you float between
The avenues of dahlia stalks,
And flicker on the green;
You hover round the garden seat,
You mount, you waver. Why,--
Why storm us in our still retreat,
O saffron Butterfly!

Across the room in loops of flight
I watch you wayward go;
Dance down a shaft of glancing light,
Review my books a-row;
Before the bust you flaunt and flit
Of "blind Mæonides"--
Ah, trifler, on his lips there lit
Not butterflies, but bees!

You pause, you poise, you circle up
Among my old Japan;
You find a comrade on a cup,
A friend upon a fan;
You wind anon, a breathing-while,
Around AMANDA'S brow;--
Dost dream her then, O Volatile!
E'en such an one as thou?

Away! Her thoughts are not as thine.
A sterner purpose fills
Her steadfast soul with deep design
Of baby bows and frills;
What care hath she for worlds without,
What heed for yellow sun,
Whose endless hopes revolve about
A planet, ætat One!

Away! Tempt not the best of wives;
Let not thy garish wing
Come fluttering our Autumn lives
With truant dreams of Spring!
Away! Re-seek thy "Flowery Land;"
Be Buddha's law obeyed;
Lest Betty's undiscerning hand
Should slay ... a future PRAED!

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