Spring's face is wreathed in smiles. She had been driven
Hither and thither at the surly will
Of treacherous winds till her sweet heart was chill.
Into her grasp the sceptre has been given
And now she touches with a proud young hand
The earth, and turns to blossoms all the land.
We catch the smile, the joyousness, the pride,
And share them with her. Surely winter gloom
Is for the old, and frost is for the tomb.
Youth must have pleasure, and the tremulous tide
Of sun-kissed waves, and all the golden fire
Of Summer's noontide splendor of desire.
I have forgotten, - for the breath of buds
Is on my temples, if in former days
I have known sorrow; I remember praise,
And calm content, and joy's great ocean-floods,
And many dreams so sweet that, in their place,
We would not welcome even Truth's fair face.
O Man to whom my heart hast leaned, dost know
Aught of my life? Sometimes a strong despair
Enters my soul and finds a lodging there;
Thou dost not know me, and the years will go
As these last months have gone, and I shall be
Still far, still a strange woman unto thee.
I do not blame thee. If there is a fault
Let it be mine, for surely had I tried
The door of my heart's home to open wide
No need had been for even Love's assault.
And yet, methinks, somewhere there is a key
Thou mightest have found, and entered happily.
I am no saint niched in a hallowed wall
For men to worship, but I would compel
A level gaze. You teachers who would tell
A woman's place I do defy you all!
While justice lives, and love with joy is crowned
Woman and man must meet on equal ground.
The deepest wrong is falsehood. She who sells
Her soul and body for a little gain
In ease, or the world's notice, has a stain
Upon her soul no lighter for the bells
Of marriage rites, and purer far is she
Who gives her all for love's sad ecstasy.
Canst thou not understand a nature strong
And passionate, with impulses that sway,
With yearning tenderness that must have way,
Yet knows no ill desire, no touch of wrong?
If thou canst not then in God's name I pray
See me no more forever from this day.