James Russell Lowell

(22 February 1819 – 12 August 1891 / Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Without And Withiin - Poem by James Russell Lowell

My coachman, in the moonlight there,
Looks through the sidelight of the door;
I hear him with his brethren swear,
As I could do—but only more.

Flattening his nose against the pane,
He envies me my brilliant lot,
Breathes on his aching fist in vain,
And dooms me to a place more hot.

He sees me into supper go,
A silken wonder at my side,
Bare arms, bare shoulders, and a row
Of flounces, for the door too wide.

He thinks how happy is my arm,
'Neath its white-gloved and jeweled load;
And wishes me some dreadful harm,
Hearing the merry corks explode.

Meanwhile I inly curse the bore
Of hunting still the same old coon,
And envy him, outside the door,
The golden quiet of the moon.

The winter wind is not so cold
As the bright smile he sees me win,
Nor the host's oldest wine so old
As our poor gabble, sour and thin.

I envy him the rugged prance
By which his freezing feet he warms,
And drag my lady's chains and dance,
The galley-slave of dreary forms.

Oh, could he have my share of din,
And I his quiet—past a doubt
'Twould still be one man bored within,
And just another bored without.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 10, 2012



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