The Mystery of Choice
ROBERT W. CHAMBERS
author of the king in yellow, the red republic,
a king and a few dukes, the maker of moons, etc.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
By ROBERT W. CHAMBERS.
There is a maid, demure as she is wise,
With all of April in her winsome eyes,
And to my tales she listens pensively,
With slender fingers clasped about her knee,
Watching the sparrows on the balcony.
Shy eyes that, lifted up to me,
Free all my heart of vanity;
Clear eyes, that speak all silently,
Sweet as the silence of a nunnery—
Read, for I write my rede for you alone,
Here where the city's mighty monotone
Deepens the silence to a symphony—
Silence of Saints, and Seers, and Sorcery.
Arms and the Man! A noble theme, I ween!
Alas! I can not sing of these, Eileen—
Only of maids and men and meadow-grass,
Of sea and fields and woodlands, where I pass;
Nothing but these I know, Eileen, alas!
Clear eyes that, lifted up to me,
Free all my soul from vanity;
Gray eyes, that speak all wistfully—
Nothing but these I know, alas!
R. W. C.
Where two fair paths, deep flowered
Creep East and West across a World concealed,
Which shall he take who journeys far afield?
Canst thou then say, "I go,"
Or "I forego"?
What turns thee East or West, as thistles blow?
Is fair more fair than fair—and dost thou know?
Turn to the West, unblessed
Turn to the East, and, seated at the Feast
Thou shall find Life, or Death from Life released.
And thou who lovest best
A maid dark-tressed,
And passest others by with careless eye,
Canst thou tell why thou choosest? Tell, then; why?
So whun thy kiss is given
Why should she tremble, with her face flame-hot,
Or laugh and whisper, "Love, I tremble not"?
Or when thy hand may catch
A half-drawn latch.
What draws thee from the door, to turn and pass
Through streets unknown, dim, still, and choked with grass?
What! Canst thou not foresee
Heed! For a Voice commands thy every deed!
And it hath sounded. And thou needs must heed!
R. W. C.