Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Nymph Mourning her Fawn
By Andrew Marvell (1621–1678)
 
(See full text.)

THE WANTON troopers, riding by,
Have shot my fawn, and it will die.
Ungentle men! they cannot thrive
Who killed thee. Thou ne’er didst alive
Them any harm, alas! nor could        5
Thy death yet do them any good.
I’m sure I never wished them ill;
Nor do I for all this, nor will:
But, if my simple prayers may yet
Prevail with Heaven to forget        10
Thy murder, I will join my tears,
Rather than fail. But, O my fears!
It cannot die so. Heaven’s King
Keeps register of every thing,
And nothing may we use in vain;        15
Even beasts must be with justice slain,
Else men are made their deodands.
Though they should wash their guilty hands
In this warm life-blood which doth part
From thine, and wound me to the heart,        20
Yet could they not be clean, their stain
Is dyed in such a purple grain.
There is not such another in
The world, to offer for their sin.
 
It is a wondrous thing how fleet        25
’Twas on those little silver feet;
With what a pretty skipping grace
It oft would challenge me the race;
And, when it had left me far away,
’Twould stay and run again and stay;        30
For it was nimbler much than hinds,
And trod as if on the four winds.
 
I have a garden of my own,
But so with roses overgrown,
And lilies, that you would it guess        35
To be a little wilderness,
And all the spring time of the year
It only lovèd to be there.
 
Among the beds of lilies I
Have sought it oft, where it should lie,        40
Yet could not, till itself would rise,
Find it, although before mine eyes;
For, in the flaxen lilies’ shade,
It like a bank of lilies laid.
Upon the roses it would feed,        45
Until its lips e’en seemed to bleed,
And then to me ’twould boldly trip,
And print those roses on my lip.
But all its chief delight was still
On roses thus itself to fill,        50
And its pure virgin limbs to fold
In whitest sheets of lilies cold:
Had it lived long, it would have been
Lilies without, roses within.
 
 
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