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Poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Now, by the blessed Paphian queen, Who heaves the breast of sweet sixteen; By every name I cut on bark Before my morning star grew dark; By Hymen's torch, by Cupid's dart, By all that thrills the beating heart; The bright black eye, the melting blue,Ч I cannot choose between the two. I had a vision in my dreams;Ч I saw a row of twenty beams; From every beam a rope was hung, In every rope a lover swung; I asked the hue of every eye That bade each luckless lover die; Ten shadowy lips said, heavenly blue, And ten accused the darker hue. I asked a matron which she deemed With fairest light of beauty beamed; She answered, some thought both were fair,Ч Give her blue eyes and golden hair. I might have liked her judgment well, But, as she spoke, she rung the bell, And all her girls, nor small nor few, Came marching in,Чtheir eyes were blue. I asked a maiden; back she flung The locks that round her forehead hung, And turned her eye, a glorious one, Bright as a diamond in the sun, On me, until beneath its rays I felt as if my hair would blaze; She liked all eyes but eyes of green; She looked at me; what could she mean? Ah! many lids Love lurks between, Nor heeds the coloring of his screen; And when his random arrows fly, The victim falls, but knows not why. Gaze not upon his shield of jet, The shaft upon the string is set; Look not beneath his azure veil, Though every limb were cased in mail. Well, both might make a martyr break The chain that bound him to the stake; And both, with but a single ray, Can melt our very hearts away; And both, when balanced, hardly seem To stir the scales, or rock the beam; But that is dearest, all the while, That wears for us the sweetest smile.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
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