Pain In Pleasure

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A thought lay like a flower upon mine heart,
And drew around it other thoughts like bees
For multitude, and thirst of sweetnesses;
Whereat rejoicing, I desired the art
Of the Greek whistler, who to wharf and mart
Could lure those insect swarms from orange-trees,
That I might hive with me such thoughts, and please
My soul so, always. Foolish counterpart
Of a weak man's vain wishes While I spoke,
The thought, I called a flower, grew nettle-rough --
The thoughts, called bees, stung me to festering.
Oh, entertain (cried Reason, as she woke,)
Your best and gladdest thoughts but long enough,
And they will all prove sad enough to sting.

Source:

The Poems Of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Volume 1
Copyright 1853
C. S. Francis & Co., 262 Broadway, New York
Crosby & Nichols, Boston
 

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