Verse > Anthologies > Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. > Yale Book of American Verse
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Thomas R. Lounsbury, ed. (1838–1915). Yale Book of American Verse.  1912.
 
William Wetmore Story. 1819–1895
 
122. Black Eyes
 
THOSE black eyes I once so praised 
  Now are hard and sharp and cold; 
Where 's the love that through them blazed? 
  Where 's the tenderness of old? 
All is gone—how utterly—         5
  From its stem the flower has dropped. 
Ah! how ugly Life can be 
  After Love from it is lopped! 
  
Do we hate each other now, 
  While we call each other dear?  10
On that faultless mouth and brow 
  To the world does change appear? 
No! your smile is just as sweet, 
  Just as fair your outward grace; 
But I look in vain to greet  15
  The dear ghost behind the face. 
  
That is gone! I look on you 
  As a corpse from which has fled 
All that once I loved and knew, 
  All that once I thought to wed.  20
'T is not your fault, 't is not mine; 
  Yet I still recall a dream 
Of a joy almost divine— 
  'T was an image in a stream. 
  
Nothing can be sour and sharp  25
  As a love that has decayed— 
On the loose strings of the harp 
  Only discord can be made. 
Cold this common friendship seems 
  After love's auroral glow;  30
On the broken stem of dreams 
  Only disappointments grow. 
  
Do I hate you? No! Not hate? 
  Hate 's a word far too intense, 
Too alive, to speak a state  35
  Of supreme indifference. 
Once, behind your eyes I thought 
  Worlds of love and life to see; 
Now I see behind them nought 
  But a soulless vacancy.  40
  
Out and out I know you now; 
  There 's no issue of your heart 
Where my soul with you may go 
  To a beauty all apart, 
Where the world can never come.  45
  'T is a little narrow place— 
Friendship there might find a home; 
  Love would die—for want of space. 
  
So we live! The world still says, 
  "What expression in her eyes!  50
What sweet manners—graceful ways!" 
  How it would the world surprise 
If I said, "This woman's soul 
  Made for love you think, but try; 
Plunge therein—how clear and shoal!—  55
  You might drown there—so can't I?" 
 
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