Albert Pike

(1809-1891 / USA)

Cleopatre - Poem by Albert Pike

Go! woo the sweet South-wind, vain man!
The south-wind capricious and gay,
To be steadfast and constant and true,—if you can,-
To you only, but for a day:
It will laugh at you, dancing away,
Other lovers to win with caresses;
Yet as easily keep the gay South-wind you may,
Bringing odors from maidens' soft tresses,
As her, whom so many have loved and adore,
That man's love, for her, has a value no more.

Go! sue for the rose's perfume,
That no one may share it with you!
And with blushes for you only ask it to bloom,
When fifty as ardently sue:
It will laugh with its bright eyes of dew,
Its graceful head coyly inclining,
As if weary of words that no longer are new,
And to win new adorers designing;
So she hears, whose eyes once her fondness revealed,
And her lips sweet assurance of constancy sealed.

Go! vex, when the red Sunset dies,
The Evening-Star on her throne,
With your vows of devotion and vain tears and sighs,
To win her to love you alone!
Pour your heart out in songs all her own,
And exist only while you behold her! —
She will smile still, and shine as she always has shone,
Upon all who their folly have told her;
As the eyes that you love so, the bright sweet eyes,
Fain would make, every day, a new heart their prize.

Entreat the brown throstle, in May,
Staring gravely at you, where he swings
In the tree-top, to sing for you only, to-day,
The song that to hundreds he sings;
And the tremulous stir of his wings,
And the gay song say 'no' to your suing:
So your darling less fondly and close to you clings,
So, impatiently, half-hears your wooing;
While for new hearts to win with her soft pleading eyes,
And her sweet ways and words, she unconsciously sighs.

The bee ask, to haunt but one flower;
The fawn, at but one spring to drink;
Ask the down in the air to be still but one hour,
The Stars' diamond eves not to wink!—
But be not so vain as to think
That the sweet May can long love November:
The Stars look not back to the brink
Of the blue Sea, lost loves to remember;
The bright-eyed and beautiful waste no regrets
On the Past, which the young heart soon gladly forgets.

Bring back the sweet face! Set it here,
With the roses a-near, where you write;
That the eyes which have blessed you so many a year,
May never be out of your sight,
When you work there, by day or by night.
IT will change not, though SHE grow disdainful;
Do not Genius and Beauty to Youth give the right,
To the self-deceived victims though painful,—
To win and to waste a new heart every hour,
Like the breeze and the bird; like the star and the flower?

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 24, 2014

Poem Edited: Monday, February 24, 2014

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