Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XXX. Sweet Sorrow
‘O Sorrow’
By John Keats (1795–1821)
From ‘Endymion

    Why dost borrow
The natural hue of health, from vermeil lips?—
    To give maiden blushes
    To the white rose bushes?        5
Or is’t thy dewy hand the daisy tips?
    O Sorrow,
    Why dost borrow
The lustrous passion from a falcon-eye?—
    To give the glow-worm light?        10
    Or, on a moonless night,
To tinge, on syren shores, the salt sea-spry?
    O Sorrow,
    Why dost borrow
The mellow ditties from a mourning tongue?—        15
    To give at evening pale
    Unto the nightingale,
That thou mayst listen the cold dews among?
    O Sorrow,
    Why dost borrow        20
Heart’s lightness from the merriment of May?—
    A lover would not tread
    A cowslip on the head,
Though he should dance from eve till peep of day—
    Nor any drooping flower        25
    Held sacred for thy bower,
Wherever he may sport himself and play.
    To Sorrow
I bade good morrow,
And thought to leave her far away behind;        30
    But cheerly, cheerly,
    She loves me dearly;
She is so constant to me, and so kind:
    I would deceive her,
    And so leave her,        35
But ah! she is so constant and so kind….
    Come then, Sorrow!
    Sweetest Sorrow!
Like an own babe I nurse thee on my breast:
    I thought to leave thee        40
    And deceive thee,
But now of all the world I love thee best.

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