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 Queen
By Coventry Patmore (1823–1896)
 
I.
TO heroism and holiness
  How hard it is for man to soar,
But how much harder to be less
  Than what his mistress loves him for!
He does with ease what do he must,        5
  Or lose her, and there’s nought debarred
From him who’s called to meet her trust,
  And credit her desired regard.
Ah, wasteful woman! she that may
  On her sweet self set her own price,        10
Knowing he cannot choose but pay;
  How has she cheapened paradise,
How given for nought her priceless gift,
  How spoiled the bread, and spilled the wine,
Which, spent with due, respective thrift,        15
  Had made brutes men, and men divine.
 
II.
O queen! awake to thy renown,
  Require what ’tis our wealth to give,
And comprehend and wear the crown
  Of thy despised prerogative!        20
I who in manhood’s name at length
  With glad songs come to abdicate
The gross regality of strength,
  Must yet in this thy praise abate,
That through thine erring humbleness        25
  And disregard of thy degree,
Mainly, has man been so much less
  Than fits his fellowship with thee.
High thoughts had shaped the foolish brow,
  The coward had grasped the hero’s sword,        30
The vilest had been great, hadst thou,
  Just to thyself, been worth’s reward:
But lofty honors undersold
  Seller and buyer both disgrace;
And favor that makes folly bold        35
  Puts out the light in virtue’s face.
 
 
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