Love's Challenge

I PICKED this trifle from the floor,
Unknowing from whose tender hand
It fell,—but now would fain restore
A thing which hath my heart unmanned.
I say unmanned, for 't is not now
A manly mood to dream of Love,
When each bold champion knits his brow,
And for War’s gauntlet doffs his glove.
But we ’re exempt, and have no heart
Of wreak within us for the fray ;
And therefore teach our souls the art
With life and life’s concerns to play.
Yet, lady, trust me, 't is not all
In play that I proclaim intent,
When next thou lett’st thy gauntlet fall,
To take it as a challenge meant.