Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
 
I. Disappointment in Love
Lady Clara Vere de Vere
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892)
 
LADY CLARA VERE DE VERE,
  Of me you shall not win renown;
You thought to break a country heart
  For pastime, ere you went to town.
At me you smiled, but unbeguiled        5
  I saw the snare, and I retired:
The daughter of a hundred Earls,
  You are not one to be desired.
 
Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
  I know you proud to bear your name;        10
Your pride is yet no mate for mine,
  Too proud to care from whence I came.
Nor would I break for your sweet sake
  A heart that dotes on truer charms.
A simple maiden in her flower        15
  Is worth a hundred coats-of-arms.
 
Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
  Some meeker pupil you must find,
For were you queen of all that is,
  I could not stoop to such a mind.        20
You sought to prove how I could love,
  And my disdain is my reply.
The lion on your old stone gates
  Is not more cold to you than I.
 
Lady Clara Vere de Vere,        25
  You put strange memories in my head.
Not thrice your branching lines have blown
  Since I beheld young Laurence dead.
O your sweet eyes, your low replies:
  A great enchantress you may be;        30
But there was that across his throat
  Which you had hardly cared to see.
 
Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
  When thus he met his mother’s view,
She had the passions of her kind,        35
  She spake some certain truths of you.
Indeed I heard one bitter word
  That scarce is fit for you to hear;
Her manners had not that repose
  Which stamps the caste of Vere de Vere.        40
 
Lady Clara Vere de Vere,
  There stands a spectre in your hall:
The guilt of blood is at your door:
  You changed a wholesome heart to gall.
You held your course without remorse,        45
  To make him trust his modest worth,
And, last, you fixed a vacant stare,
  And slew him with your noble birth.
 
Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
  From yon blue heavens above us bent        50
The grand old gardener and his wife
  Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howe’er it be, it seems to me,
  ’T is only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,        55
  And simple faith than Norman blood.
 
I know you, Clara Vere de Vere:
  You pine among your halls and towers:
The languid light of your proud eyes
  Is wearied of the rolling hours.        60
In glowing health, with boundless wealth,
  But sickening of a vague disease,
You know so ill to deal with time,
  You needs must play such pranks as these.
 
Clara, Clara Vere de Vere,        65
  If Time be heavy on your hands,
Are there no beggars at your gate,
  Nor any poor about your lands?
Oh! teach the orphan-boy to read,
  Or teach the orphan-girl to sew,        70
Pray Heaven for a human heart,
  And let the foolish yeoman go.
 
 
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