Enamels and Cameos/The Garret

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Original title “La Mansarde”

From balcony tiles where casual cats
     Sit low in wait for birds unwise,
I see the worn and riven slats
     Of a poor, humble garret rise.

Now could I as an author lie,
     To give you comfort as you think,
Its window I would falsify,
     And frame with flowers refined and pink,

And place within it Rigolette
     With her cheap looking-glass, somehow,
Whose broken glazing mirrors yet
     A portion of her pretty brow;

Or Margery, her dress undone,
     Her hair blown free, her tie forgot,
Watering in the pleasant sun
     Her pail-encompassed garden-plot;

Or poet-youth whom fame awaits,
     Who scans his verse and eyes the hills,
Or in a reverie contemplates
     Montmartre with its distant mills.

Alas! my garret is no feint.
     There climbeth no convolvulus.
The window with its nibbled paint
     Leers filmy and unluminous.

Alike for artist and grisette,
     Alike for widower and lad,
A garret — save to music set —
     Is never otherwise than sad.

Of old, beneath an angle pent,
     That forced the forehead to a kiss,
Love, with a folding-couch content,
     To chat with Susan deemed it bliss.

But we must wad our bliss about
     With cushioned walls and laces wide,
And silks that flutter in and out,
     O’er beds by Monbro canopied.

This evening, to Mount Breda fled
     Is Rigolette, to linger there,
And Margery, well clothed and fed,
     No longer tends her garden fair.

The poet, tired of catching rimes
     Upon the wing, has turned to cull
Reporter’s bays, and left betimes
     A heaven for an entresol.

And in the window this is all:
     An ancient goody chattering,
And railing at a kitten small
     That toys forever with a string.