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Poem by Edith Nesbit


Second Nature


WHEN I was young how fair the skies,
Such folly of cloud, such blue depths wise,
Such dews of morn, such calms of eve,
So many the lure and the reprieve--
Life seemed a toy to break and mend
And make a charm of in the end.

Then slowly all the dew dried up
And only dust lay in the cup;
And since, to slake his thirst, man must,
I sought a cup that had no dust,
And found it at the Goat and Vine--
Mingled of brandy, beer and wine.

The goat-cup, straight, drew down the skies
And lit them in lunatick wise:
What had been rose went scarlet red,
And the pearl tints grew like the dead.
And the fresh primrose of the morn
Was the wet red of rain-spoiled corn.

Now, with a head that aches and nods
I hold weak hands out to the gods;
And oh! forgiving gods and kind,
They give me healing to my mind,
And show me once again the lawn
Green and clear-gemmed with dews of dawn.

O gods, who look down from above
Upon our tangle of lust and love,
And, in your purity, perceive
The worth of what our follies leave:
Give us but this, and sink the rest--
To know that dew and dawn are best.



Edith Nesbit


Edith Nesbit's other poems:
  1. This Desirable Mansion
  2. The Spider Queen
  3. The Fields of Flanders
  4. The Offering
  5. In Eclipse


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