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Lucile   By: (1831-1891)

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by Owen Meredith

"Why, let the stricken deer go weep. The hart ungalled play: For some must watch, while some must sleep; Thus runs the world away."




I dedicate to you a work, which is submitted to the public with a diffidence and hesitation proportioned to the novelty of the effort it represents. For in this poem I have abandoned those forms of verse with which I had most familiarized my thoughts, and have endeavored to follow a path on which I could discover no footprints before me, either to guide or to warn.

There is a moment of profound discouragement which succeeds to prolonged effort; when, the labor which has become a habit having ceased, we miss the sustaining sense of its companionship, and stand, with a feeling of strangeness and embarrassment, before the abrupt and naked result. As regards myself, in the present instance, the force of all such sensations is increased by the circumstances to which I have referred. And in this moment of discouragement and doubt, my heart instinctively turns to you, from whom it has so often sought, from whom it has never failed to receive, support.

I do not inscribe to you this book because it contains anything that is worthy of the beloved and honored name with which I thus seek to associate it; nor yet because I would avail myself of a vulgar pretext to display in public an affection that is best honored by the silence which it renders sacred.

Feelings only such as those with which, in days when there existed for me no critic less gentle than yourself, I brought to you my childish manuscripts; feelings only such as those which have, in later years, associated with your heart all that has moved or occupied my own, lead me once more to seek assurance from the grasp of that hand which has hitherto been my guide and comfort through the life I owe to you.

And as in childhood, when existence had no toil beyond the day's simple lesson, no ambition beyond the neighboring approval of the night, I brought to you the morning's task for the evening's sanction, so now I bring to you this self appointed taskwork of maturer years; less confident indeed of your approval, but not less confident of your love; and anxious only to realize your presence between myself and the public, and to mingle with those severer voices to whose final sentence I submit my work the beloved and gracious accents of your own.







"I hear from Bigorre you are there. I am told You are going to marry Miss Darcy. Of old, So long since you may have forgotten it now (When we parted as friends, soon mere strangers to grow), Your last words recorded a pledge what you will A promise the time is now come to fulfil. The letters I ask you, my lord, to return, I desire to receive from your hand. You discern My reasons, which, therefore, I need not explain. The distance to Luchon is short. I remain A month in these mountains. Miss Darcy, perchance, Will forego one brief page from the summer romance Of her courtship, and spare you one day from your place At her feet, in the light of her fair English face. I desire nothing more, and trust you will feel I desire nothing much. "Your friend always, "LUCILE."


Now in May Fair, of course, in the fair month of May When life is abundant, and busy, and gay: When the markets of London are noisy about Young ladies, and strawberries, "only just out;" Fresh strawberries sold under all the house eaves, And young ladies on sale for the strawberry leaves: When cards, invitations, and three cornered notes Fly about like white butterflies gay little motes In the sunbeam of Fashion; and even Blue Books Take a heavy wing'd flight, and grow busy as rooks; And the postman (that Genius, indifferent and stern, Who shakes out even handed to all, from his urn, Those lots which so often decide if our day Shall be fretful and anxious, or joyous and gay) Brings, each morning, more letters of one sort or other Than Cadmus, himself, put together, to bother The heads of Hellenes; I say, in the season Of Fair May, in May Fair, there can be no reason Why, when quietly munching your dry toast and butter, Your nerves should be suddenly thrown in a flutter At the sight of a neat little letter, address'd In a woman's handwriting, containing, half guess'd, An odor of violets faint as the Spring, And coquettishly seal'd with a small signet ring... Continue reading book >>

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