Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
 
III. Love’s Beginnings
Caprice
William Dean Howells (1837–1920)
 
I.
SHE hung the cage at the window,
  “If he goes by,” she said,
“He will hear my robin singing,
  And when he lifts his head,
I shall be sitting here to sew,        5
And he will bow to me, I know.”
 
The robin sang a love-sweet song,
  The young man raised his head;
The maiden turned away and blushed:
  “I ’m a fool!” she said,        10
And went on broidering in silk
A pink-eyed rabbit, white as milk.
 
II.
The young man loitered slowly
  By the house three times that day;
She took her bird from the window:        15
  “He need not look this way.”
She sat at her piano long,
And sighed, and played a death-sad song.
 
But when the day was done, she said,
  “I wish that he would come!        20
Remember, Mary, if he calls
  To-night—I ’m not at home.”
So when he rang, she went—the elf!—
She went and let him in herself.
 
III.
They sang full long together
        25
  Their songs love-sweet, death-sad,
The robin woke from his slumber,
  And rang out, clear and glad.
“Now go,” she coldly said, “’t is late;”
And followed him—to latch the gate.        30
 
He took the rosebud from her hair,
  While, “You shall not,” she said:
He closed her hand within his own,
  And while her tongue forbade,
Her will was darkened in the eclipse        35
Of blinding love upon his lips.
 
 
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