Stops of Various Quills/Race

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Race by William Dean Howells
illustrations by Howard Pyle

Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 101 large a.jpg




RACE


I

LEAVE me here those looks of yours!
All those pretty airs and lures:
Flush of cheek and flash of eye;
Your lips' smile and their deep dye;
Gleam of the white teeth within;
Dimple of the cloven chin;
All the sunshine that you wear
In the summer of your hair;
All the morning of your face;
All your figure's wilding grace;
The flower-pose of your head, the light
Flutter of your footsteps' flight:
I own all, and that glad heart
I must claim ere you depart.

II

 Go, yet go not unconsoled!
Sometime, after you are old,
You shall come, and I will take
From your brow the sullen ache,
From your eyes the twilight gaze
Darkening upon winter days,
From your feet their palsy pace,
And the wrinkles from your face,
From your locks the snow; the droop
Of your head, your worn frame's stoop,
And that withered smile within
The kissing of the nose and chin:
I own all, and that sad heart
I will claim ere you depart.


III

 I am Race, and both are mine,
Mortal Age and Youth divine:
Mine to grant, but not in fee;
Both again revert to me
From each that lives, that I may give
Unto each that yet shall live.



Howells, Stops of Various Quills, 1895 103 large a.jpg