Fortune and Men’s Eyes
MARY: Well, headsman?… You ask not why I came here, Clouded Brow, Will you not ask me why I stay? No word? O blind, come lead the blind! For I, I too Lack sight and every sense to linger here And make me an intruder, where I once Was welcome, oh most welcome, as I dreamed! Look on me, then. I do confess, I have Too often preened my feathers in the sun, And thought to rule a little, by my wit. I have been spendthrift with men’s offerings To use them like a nosegay,–tear apart, Petal by petal, leaf by leaf, until I found the heart all bare, the curious heart I longed to see, for once, and cast away. And so, at first, with you…. Ah, now I think You’re wise. There’s nought so fair, so… curious, So precious-rare to find, as honesty. ‚Twas all a child’s play then; a counting-off Of petals. Now I know…. But ask me why I come unheralded, and in a mist Of circumstance and strangeness. Listen, love,– Well then, dead love, if you will have it so. I have been cunning cruel,–what you will: And yet the days of late have seemed too long Even for summer! Something called me here. And so I flung my pride away and came,– A very woman for my foolishness!– To say once more, — to say… I am come back; a foot-worn runaway, Like any braggart boy. Let me sit down And take Love’s horn-book in my hands again, And learn from the beginning; — by the rod, If you will scourge me, love! Come, come, forgive. I am not wont to sue: and yet to-day I am your suppliant, I am your servant, Your link-boy, yes, your minstrel: so, — wilt hear?