Thalia

"A MIDDLE-AGED LYRICAL POET IS SUPPOSED TO BE TAKING FINAL LEAVE OF THE MUSE OF COMEDY. SHE HAS BROUGHT HIM HIS HAT AND GLOVES, AND IS ABSTRACTEDLY PICKING A THREAD OF GOLD HAIR FROM HIS COAT SLEEVE AS HE BEGINS TO SPEAK:

I say it under the rose--
oh, thanks! --yes, under the laurel,
We part lovers, not foes;
we are not going to quarrel.

We have too long been friends
on foot and in guilded coaches,
Now that the whole thing ends,
to spoil our kiss with reproaches.

I leave you; my soul is wrung;
I pause, look back from the portal--
Ah, I no more am young,
and you, child, are immortal!

Mine is the glacier's way,
yours is the blossom's weather--
When were December and May
known to be happy together?

Before my kisses grow tame,
before my moodiness grieve you,
While yet my heart is flame,
and I all lover, I leave you.

So, in the coming time,
when you count the rich years over,
Think of me in my prime,
and not as a white-haired lover.

Fretful, pierced with regret,
the wraith of dead Desire
Thrumming a cracked spinnet
by a slowly dying fire.

When, at last, I am cold--
years hence, if the gods so will it--
Say, "He was true as gold,"
and wear a rose in your fillet!

Others, tender as I,
will come and sue for carresses,
Woo you, win you, and die--
mind you, a rose in your tresses!

Some Melpomene woo,
some hold Clio nearest;
You, sweet Comedy--you
were ever sweetest and dearest!

Nay, it is time to go--
when writing your tragic sister
Say to that child of woe
how sorry I was I missed her.

Really, I cannot stay,
though "parting is such sweet sorrow" . . .
Perhaps I will, on my way
down-town, look in to-morrow!

by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

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