The Wife of All Ages

By Edith Nesbit

I DO not catch these subtle shades of feeling,
Your fine distinctions are too fine for me;
This meeting, scheming, longing, trembling, dreaming,
To me mean love, and only love, you see;
In me at least ’tis love, you will admit,
And you the only man who wakens it.

Suppose I yearned, and longed, and dreamed, and fluttered,
What would you say or think, or further, do?
Why should one rule be fit for me to follow,
While there exists a different law for you?
If all these fires and fancies came my way,
Would you believe love was so far away?

On all these other women–never doubt it–
‘Tis love you lavish, love you promised me!
What do I care to be the first, or fiftieth?
It is the only one I care to be.
Dear, I would be your sun, as mine you are,
Not the most radiant wonder of a star.

And so, good-bye! Among such sheaves of roses
You will not miss the flower I take from you;
Amid the music of so many voices
You will forget the little songs I knew–
The foolish tender words I used to say,
The little common sweets of every day.

The world, no doubt, has fairest fruits and blossoms
To give to you; but what, ah! what for me?
Nay, after all I am your slave and bondmaid,
And all my world is in my slavery.
So, as before, I welcome any part
Which you may choose to give me of your heart.

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