by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The world has outlived all its passion,
Its men are inane and blasé,
Its women mere puppets of fashion;
Life now is a comedy play.
Our Abelard sighs for a season,
Then yields with decorum to fate,
Our Héloise listens to reason,
And seeks a new mate.
Our Romeo's flippant emotion
Grows pale as the summer grows old;
Our Juliet proves her devotion
By clasping - a cup filled with gold.
Vain Antony boasts of his favours
From fair Cleopatra the frail,
And the death of the sorceress savours
Less of asps than of ale.
With the march of bold civilisation,
Great loves and great faiths are downtrod,
They belonged to an era and nation
All fresh with the imprint of God.
High culture emasculates feeling,
The over-taught brain robs the heart,
And the shrine now where mortals are kneeling
Is a commonplace mart.
Our effeminate fathers and brothers
Keep carefully out of life's storm,
From the ladylike minds of our mothers
We are taught that to feel is
Our worshippers now and our lovers
Are calmly devout with their brains,
And we laugh at the man who discovers
Warm blood in his veins.
But you, O twin souls, passion-mated,
Who love as the gods loved of old,
What blundering destiny fated
Your lives to be cast in this mould?
Like a lurid volcanic upheaval,
In pastures prosaic and grey,
You seem with your fervours primeval,
Among us to-day.
You dropped from some planet of splendour,
Perhaps as it circled afar,
And your constancy, swerveless and tender,
You learned from the course of that star.
Fly back to its bosom, I warn you --
As back to the ark flew the dove --
The minions of earth will but scorn you,
Because you can love.
Source:Poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox
W.P. Nimmo, Hay, and Mitchell, Edinburgh