Over a Diamond Necklace

I WILL own that I wish it were mine ;
O, you quote “ Do not covet,” and lay
Down the laws of simplicity, line upon line,
In your moralo-logical way;
But I haste to deny that a shade
Of the envious thought you infer,
Was present to poison a wish never made
To imply dispossession of her
Whose white neck, in its stateliest grace,
All athrill with the pride and the bliss
Of its beauty, shall bend for the clasping embrace
Of such magical splendor as this.
I scarce thought of owner at all;
Still less of its value in pelf.
Who, in presence so grand, would confess himself thrall
Of aught save the presence itself?
Look at it ! — the glorious thing —
As it lies on its velvet in state,
Tossing glories about like a prodigal king
Who is surely and consciously great.
O, the tremulous laughter of Light!
O, the Genius of Color at play !
O, the soul of a Flame made ineffably white
By its burning! — but what can I say
To transfix it in speech? Bring a word
That is swift as a thought, bright as gold,
That is purer than snow, such as never was heard
Since the morning stars used it of old.
And you tell me this marvellous light
Is a second-hand splendor, at most ?
That, shut it away in the dark of the night,
All the soul of the diamond is lost?
Very true. Then I love it the more.
Let me hasten to double my praise,
Since to give as it takes, in unstinted, full score,
Is the generous law it obeys.
We might say the same of the moon ;
Of the eyes that you love for their blue ;
Of the earth in green robes lying under the noon;
Of the rainbow — and even of you !
What else is so splendid on earth,
Or possessed of such regal estate !
Not better, you say, if traced back to its birth
Than the anthracite piled in the grate ?
May be not. Then its rank is its own ;
On it, honors most fittingly fall,
If, from orders plebeian as any, this stone
Rises up to be king over all.
Yes, I wish it were mine,—just to hold,
Just to look at, to keep, to possess ;
To be sure of one thing that will never grow old,
Nor perish, nor fade, nor shine less.
But, I say, let it go to its own,
To its fabulous velvet and lace,
To some queenly white throat, while all eyes follow on,
Through the maze of the dance, — ’t is its place.

Zella Reid.