Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > The New Poetry: An Anthology
Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  The New Poetry: An Anthology.  1917.
302. A Song of Happiness
By Ernest Rhys
AH, Happiness:
Who called you “Earandel”?
(Winter-star, I think, that is);
And who can tell the lovely curve
By which you seem to come, then swerve        5
Before you reach the middle-earth?
And who is there can hold your wing,
Or bind you in your mirth,
Or win you with a least caress,
Or tear, or kiss, or anything—        10
Insensate Happiness?
Once I thought to have you
Fast there in a child:
All her heart she gave you,
Yet you would not stay.        15
Cruel, and careless,
Not half reconciled,
Pain you cannot bear;
When her yellow hair
Lay matted, every tress;        20
When those looks of hers,
Were no longer hers,
You went: in a day
She wept you all away.
Once I thought to give        25
You, plighted, holily—
No more fugitive,
Returning like the sea:
But they that share so well
Heaven must portion Hell        30
In their copartnery:
Care, ill fate, ill health,
Came we know not how
And broke our commonwealth.
Neither has you now.        35
Some wait you on the road,
Some in an open door
Look for the face you showed
Once there—no more.
You never wear the dress        40
You danced in yesterday;
Yet, seeming gone, you stay,
And come at no man’s call:
Yet, laid for burial,
You lift up from the dead        45
Your laughing, spangled head.
Yes, once I did pursue
You, unpursuable;
Loved, longed for, hoped for you—
Blue-eyed and morning brow’d.        50
Ah, lovely Happiness!
Now that I know you well,
I dare not speak aloud
Your fond name in a crowd;
Nor conjure you by night,        55
Nor pray at morning-light,
Nor count at all on you:
But, at a stroke, a breath,
After the fear of death,
Or bent beneath a load;        60
Yes, ragged in the dress,
And houseless on the road,
I might surprise you there.
Yes: who of us shall say
When you will come, or where?        65
Ask children at their play,
The leaves upon the tree,
The ships upon the sea,
Or old men who survived,
And lived, and loved, and wived.        70
Ask sorrow to confess
Your sweet improvidence,
And prodigal expense
And cold economy,
Ah, lovely Happiness!        75


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