Poems and Essays

by Joseph Howe




Forgive me, Maiden, if a word of mine,
    One idle word has caused a moment’s pain,
And take this hasty, penitential line
    In pledge your friend will ne’er offend again. [Page 131]

Perhaps, the sweet familiar name you wear,
    Prompted a brother’s free and careless tone,
Perhaps, presuming on the love you bear
    To one who from my childhood I have known,

I chafed your spirit with a thoughtless jest,
    And made you sad when most I wish’d you gay,
And scarcely felt how much my words express’d,
    Till more was said than e’er I meant to say.

But oh! forgive me—though the time is past,
    When I could worship such a form as thine,
For love like yours set Life upon a cast,
    And all Ambition’s dreams and cares resign.

To kiss that polish’d, intellectual brow,
    That speaking eye’s mild radiance to behold,
And hear, from lips like thine, the maiden vow,
    To youthful hearts more dear than Ophir’s gold.

Though these are not for me, I still revere
    The form of beauty and the soul of grace;
In such an eye I would not wake a tear,
    Or cast one shadow over such a face. [Page 132]