Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
981. On the Fly-Leaf of Manon Lescaut
 
By Walter Learned
 
 
TO you, whose temperate pulses flow
With measured beat, serene and slow,
The even tenor of whose way
Is undisturbed by passion’s sway,
This tale of wayward love may seem        5
The record of a fevered dream.
And yet, we two have that within
To make us what our kind have been.
A lure more strong, a wish more faint,
Makes one a monster, one a saint;        10
And even love, by difference nice,
Becomes a virtue or a vice.
The briar, that o’er the garden wall
Trails its sweet blossoms till they fall
Across the dusty road, and then        15
Are trodden under foot of men,
Is sister to the decorous rose
Within the garden’s well-kept close,
Whose pinioned branches may not roam
Out and beyond their latticed home.        20
There ’s many a life of sweet content
Whose virtue is environment.
They erred, they fell; and yet, ’t is true,
They hold the mirror up to you.
 

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