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Felicity! Who ope'st to none that knocks, yet, laughing weak, Yield'st all to Love that will not seek, And who, though won, wilt droop and die, Unless wide doors bespeak thee free, How safe's the bond of thee and me, Since thee I cherish and defy! Is't Love or Friendship, Dearest, we obey? Ah, thou art young, and I am gray; But happy man is he who knows How well time goes, With no unkind intruder by, Between such friends as thou and I! 'Twould wrong thy favour, Sweet, were I to say, 'Tis best by far, When best things are not possible, To make the best of those that are; For, though it be not May, Sure, few delights of Spring excel The beauty of this mild September day! So with me walk, And view the dreaming field and bossy Autumn wood, And how in humble russet goes The Spouse of Honour, fair Repose, Far from a world whence love is fled And truth is dying because joy is dead; And, if we hear the roaring wheel Of God's remoter service, public zeal, Let us to stiller place retire And glad admire How, near Him, sounds of working cease In little fervour and much peace; And let us talk Of holy things in happy mood, Learnt of thy blest twin-sister, Certitude; Or let's about our neighbours chat, Well praising this, less praising that, And judging outer strangers by Those gentle and unsanction'd lines To which remorse of equity Of old hath moved the School divines. Or linger where this willow bends, And let us, till the melody be caught, Harken that sudden, singing thought, On which unguess'd increase to life perchance depends. He ne'er hears twice the same who hears The songs of heaven's unanimous spheres, And this may be the song to make, at last, amends For many sighs and boons in vain long sought! Now, careless, let us stray, or stop To see the partridge from the covey drop, Or, while the evening air's like yellow wine, From the pure stream take out The playful trout, That jerks with rasping check the struggled line; Or to the Farm, where, high on trampled stacks, The labourers stir themselves amain To feed with hasty sheaves of grain The deaf'ning engine's boisterous maw, And snatch again, From to-and-fro tormenting racks, The toss'd and hustled straw; Whilst others tend the shedded wheat That fills yon row of shuddering sacks, Or shift them quick, and bind them neat, And dogs and boys with sticks Wait, murderous, for the rats that leave the ruin'd ricks; And, all the bags being fill'd and rank'd fivefold, they pour The treasure on the barn's clean floor, And take them back for more, Until the whole bared harvest beauteous lies Under our pleased and prosperous eyes. Then let us give our idlest hour To the world's wisdom and its power; Hear famous Golden-Tongue refuse To gander sauce that's good for goose, Or the great Clever Party con How many grains of sifted sand, Heap'd, make a likely house to stand, How many fools one Solomon. Science, beyond all other lust Endow'd with appetite for dust, We glance at where it grunts, well-sty'd, And pass upon the other side. Pass also by, in pensive mood, Taught by thy kind twin-sister, Certitude, Yon puzzled crowd, whose tired intent Hunts like a pack without a scent. And now come home, Where none of our mild days Can fail, though simple, to confess The magic of mysteriousness; For there 'bide charming Wonders three, Besides, Sweet, thee, To comprehend whose commonest ways, Ev'n could that be, Were coward's 'vantage and no true man's praise.
Coventry Patmore's other poems:
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