Caroline Bowles Southey



The Treaty

by Caroline Bowles Southey

Never tell me of loving by measure and weight,
As one's merits may lack or abound;
As if love could be carried to market, like skate,
And cheapened for so much a pound.

If it can, -- if yours can, -- let them have it who care;
You and I, friend, shall never agree;
Pack, and to market; be off with your ware;
It's a great deal too common for me.

Do ye linger and laugh? I'm sincere, I declare,
But belike over-hasty in thought;
If it suits ye to close with my terms as they are,
Well and good -- but I won't bate a jot.

You must love me -- we'll note the chief articles now,
To preclude all mistakes in our pact.
And I'll pledge ye, unmasked and beforehand, my vow,
To give double for al I exact.

You must love me not only through "evil report,"
When its falsehood you know or divine,
But when, upon earth, I can only resort
To your heart as a voucher for mine.

You must love me -- not my faults, but, in spite of them, me,
For the very caprices that vex ye;
Nay, the more, should ye chance, as it's likely, to see
'Tis my special delight to perplex ye.

You must love me, albeit all the world I offend
With my follies, my feelings, conceit,
While assured (if you are not, all treaty must end)
That I never can stoop to deceit; --

While assured, as we must be, (or there, too, we must part,)
That, were all the world leagued against you,
To loosen one hair of your hold on my heart
Would be more than life's labors could do.

You must love me, howe'er I may take things amiss,
Whereof you in all conscience stand clear;
And although, when you'd fain make it up with a kiss,
Your reward be a box on the ear.

You must love me not only when smiling and gay,
Complying, sweet-tempered, and civil,
But when moping, and frowning, and froward, or -- to say
The thing plain out -- as cross as the devil.

You must love me in all moods, -- in seriousness, in sport, --
Under all change of circumstance, too;
Part, or together, in crowd, or -- in short,
You must love me because I love you.


The Floral Wreath Of Autumn Flowers
Copyright 1850
Detroit: Kerr, Doughty and Lapham