Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
437. To My Lady
By George Henry Boker

I ’LL call thy frown a headsman, passing grim,
Walking before some wretch foredoomed to death,
Who counts the pantings of his own hard breath,
Wondering how heart can beat, or stead-fast limb
Bear its sad burden to life’s awful brim.        5
I ’ll call thy smile a priest, who slowly sayeth
Soft words of comfort, as the sinner strayeth
Away in thought; or sings a holy hymn,
Full of rich promise, as he walks behind
The fatal axe with face of goodly cheer,        10
And kind inclinings of his saintly ear.
So, love, thou seest in smiles, or looks unkind,
Some taste of sweet philosophy I find,
That seasons all things in our little sphere.

Why shall I chide the hand of wilful Time
When he assaults thy wondrous store of charms?
Why charge the gray-beard with a wanton crime?
Or strive to daunt him with my shrill alarms?
Or seek to lull him with a silly rhyme:
So he, forgetful, pause upon his arms,        20
And leave thy beauties in their noble prime,
The sole survivors of his grievous harms?
Alas! my love, though I ’ll indeed bemoan
The fatal ruin of thy majesty;
Yet I ’ll remember that to Time alone        25
I owed thy birth, thy charms’ maturity,
Thy crowning love with which he vested me,
Nor can reclaim, though all the rest be flown.


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