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Louise Imogen Guiney (Луиза Имоджен Гвини)

The Cherry Bough

IN a new poet’s and a new friend’s honor,
Forth from the scornèd town and her gold-getting,
Come men with lutes and bowls, and find a welcome
Here in my garden,

Find bowers and deep shade and windy grasses,
And by the south wall, wet and forward-jutting,
One early branch fire-tipped with Roman cherries.
O naught is absent,

O naught but you, kind head that far in prison
Sunk on a weary arm, feels no god’s pity
Stroking and sighing where the kingly laurels
Were once so plenty,

Nor dreams, from revels and strange faces turning,
How on the strength of my fair tree that knew you,
I lean to-day, when most my heart is laden
With your rich verses!

Since, long ago, in other gentler weather
Ere wrath and exile were, you lay beneath it,
(Your symbol then, your innocent wild brother,
Glad with your gladness,)

What has befallen in the world of wonder,
That still it puts forth bubbles of sweet color,
And you, and you that burst our eyes with beauty,
Are sapped and rotten?

Alas! When my young guests have done with singing,
I break it, leaf and fruit, my garden’s glory,
And hold it high among them, and say after:
“O my poor Ovid,

“Years pass, and loves pass too; and yet remember
For the clear time when we were boys together,
These tears at home are shed; and with you also
Your bough is dying.”

Louise Imogen Guiney's other poems:
  1. The Japanese Anemone
  2. Tryste Noel
  3. A Talisman
  4. Heathenesse
  5. Sherman: “An Horatian Ode”

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