Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Rose of the World
By Coventry Patmore (1823–1896)
 
I.
LO, when the Lord made north and south,
  And sun and moon ordained, he,
Forth bringing each by word of mouth
  In order of its dignity,
Did man from the crude clay express        5
  By sequence, and, all else decreed,
He formed the woman; nor might less
  Than Sabbath such a work succeed.
 
II.
And still with favor singled out,
  Marred less than man by mortal fall,        10
Her disposition is devout,
  Her countenance angelical.
No faithless thought her instinct shrouds,
  But fancy checkers settled sense,
Like alteration of the clouds        15
  On noonday’s azure permanence.
Pure courtesy, composure, ease,
  Declare affections nobly fixed,
And impulse sprung from due degrees
  Of sense and spirit sweetly mixed.        20
Her modesty, her chiefest grace,
  The cestus clasping Venus’ side,
Is potent to deject the face
  Of him who would affront its pride.
Wrong dares not in her presence speak,        25
  Nor spotted thought its taint disclose
Under the protest of a cheek
  Outbragging Nature’s boast, the rose.
In mind and manners how discreet!
  How artless in her very art!        30
How candid in discourse! how sweet
  The concord of her lips and heart!
How (not to call true instinct’s bent
  And woman’s very nature harm),
How amiable and innocent        35
  Her pleasure in her power to charm!
How humbly careful to attract,
  Though crowned with all the soul desires,
Connubial aptitude exact,
  Diversity that never tires!        40
 
 
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