A Woman's Shortcomings


    She has laughed as softly as if she sighed,
    She has counted six, and over,
    Of a purse well filled, and a heart well tried,
    Oh, each a worthy lover!
    They "give her time"; for her soul must slip
    Where the world has set the grooving;
    She will lie to none with her fair red lip:
    But love seeks truer loving.

    She trembles her fan in a sweetness dumb,
    As her thoughts were beyond recalling;
    With a glance for one, and a glance for some,
    From her eyelids rising and falling;
    Speaks common words with a blushful air,
    Hears bold words, unreproving;
    But her silence says, what she never will swear,
    And love seeks better loving.

    Go, lady! lean to the night-guitar,
    And drop a smile to the bringer;
    Then smile as sweetly, when he is far,
    At the voice of an in-door singer.
    Bask tenderly beneath tender eyes;
    Glance lightly, on their removing;
    And join new vows to old perjuries,
    But dare not call it loving!

    Unless you can think, when the song is done,
    No other is soft in the rhythm;
    Unless you can feel, when left by One,
    That all men else go with him;
    Unless you can know, when unpraised by his breath,
    That your beauty itself wants proving;
    Unless you can swear "For life, for death!"
    Oh, fear to call it loving!

    Unless you can muse in a crowd all day
    On the absent face that fixed you;
    Unless you can love, as the angels may,
    With the breadth of heaven betwixt you;
    Unless you can dream that his faith is fast,
    Through behoving and unbehoving;
    Unless you can die when the dream is past,
    Oh, never call it loving!


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