1. This Maiden I Hath Never Met

Her shadows flicker, flit across
My gaze, and I, by Love's chains bound,
Am summon'd and my soul is toss'd
Into the Hunt. And as the hound
May whimper at the distant sighs
Of Death, who's hid yet 'neath His veil,
I augur ill her looming eyes
Which linger, reason to assail.
Embark I thence to vain pursue
This dread-wench, daughter of my mind.
Fair Cupid ne'er his arrow drew
So sure as this, which struck me blind
That I, love-curséd, shan't forget
This maiden I hath never met.
2. The Rose's Sheen

A wizened stranger, gray and mad
Pursued me on the narrow way.
Bare-scalp'd, his hoary frame unclad,
He sought my tragic heart to sway.
"Hast Beauty thou espied?" quoth he,
"It's naught but phantom tricks and spells
That crazéd men in cages see.
'Tis heaven dream'd in mortal hells."
Yet clement stream the Sun’s swift rays
Tho’ I by bleakest night subsist.
I cherish, through Time’s ebon haze,
All crimson lips I never kiss’d.
There’s beauty in the rose’s sheen
Though undertrod, by eyes unseen.
3. For Thee Alone

Ere dawn'd the Sun or wax'd the Moon,
When Death no man had ever touch'd,
Before the firmaments were strewn
With stars and spheres in orbits clutch'd,
I loved thee then. And tho' my mind
Rememb'reth not past mother's womb
Nor scrieth futures undivin'd
Nor seeth aught but present doom,
Yet swear I still, by all who dar'd
To know where knowledge can't be prov'd,
Ere e'en I breath'd, my heart was bar'd
For thee alone; by thee it's sooth'd.
This love I hazard to believe
Years ne'er can quell nor Time conceive.
4. A Thousand Gentle Words

A thousand gentle words I spake
To her. And to her I profess'd
A steadfast ardor naught could break.
My passion's truth I oft confess'd.
Yet crooked corners of my soul
In surety could not confide.
And tho' I sought her to extol,
Doubt's shadow with me e'er would glide.
This dubious nether-shade is kin
To hanging fruit and ebbing drink
Which Tantalus could never win.
Thus is my curse. That it would shrink
Away from me! My life I'd give
An* I'd avert Doubt's somber sieve.*

Used as an archaic form of "If."
5. The Master Self-Proclaim'd

This man, whose name I hath forgot,
The master self-proclaim'd o'er Fate.
And She to him denieth not
His fantasies, but now will wait
For lies to snare him. Blinded by
Her patient schemes, he's soon away
To vanquish all beneath the sky.
A king of kings! All mortals stray
To him, and awestruck gods avow
His might. Yet Fate shall judgment mete.
He'll fall, and doth it matter how
Her doom upon him be complete?
Whe'er plague or sword or noose his bane,
'Tis by his slave the master's slain.
6. What's Love?

What's Love? A thousand quills could scribe
A thousand scrolls and ne'er impart
Her truer meaning, nor describe
Her mien. Eludeth She their art
And countless lies of Her are said.
In Life's immortal drama, She
By Passion's often play'd instead.
Love's shy, and mortals seldom see
Her unconceal'd. Yet I'll aspire
To meet Her whilst She may be found
Before I to the grave retire.
Against all hope, my hopes abound.
For paths to Her whom I await
Are clear, unwinding, ever-straight...
7. The Sharpest Thorn

And thou'rt the scarlet rose I've grasp'd,
Thy thorns and petals intertwin'd.
Thou, maiden whom my heart hath clasp'd,
Mayst carelessly, with half a mind,
Disarm me with thine angel-eyes
Or slay me with a languid stare.
Thy laughter, 'tis my paradise!
Yet scowl, and thou art my despair.
My fragile spirit can't contend
With thee. Thy beauty's far too fair,
Thy charms too sweet. Can man defend
Against thee? Let him now beware!
The sharpest, vilest, meanest thorn
Thee, brightest rose, will e'er adorn.
8. A Hand Well Play'd

There is a lass in ev'ry dale
Whose beauty all the lads would swear
Is peerless. They shall never fail
To praise her form, her grace, her hair
And all her fairest features. Each
Will call her when she passeth by.
Before she's met they'll beg and preach
Their love to her, who's young and spry
And nameless, for they know her not.
As seasons bloom and briskly fade,
So is she swiftly, soon forgot.
For them, she's but a hand well play'd.
Their Love to other maids they'll lend
But never give nor comprehend.
9. The Heart's Deceit

The heart's deceit's above all things.
What else on earth could imitate
Its Siren-calls, which draw all kings
And men? I'd suffer Hell's black gate
To cross ere suffer Love to lose.
Or so I say, for She's a sly
And tricky beast. A wily muse
Is Love, Whose truth is oft a lie.
Oh! Rarer than a summer frost
And sweeter than a fragrant kiss
Is Love that's true. It hath no cost
Too great to meet. What woe to miss
This Love so lovely to behold!
Unfading, timeless, clear and bold...