DOWN the long orchard-aisles where I have strolled,
On fragrant sward the slanted sunlight weaves,
Rich-flickering through the dusk of plenteous leaves,
Its ever-tremulous arabesques of gold!
In globes of glimmering color sweet to see,
The apples greaten under halcyon sky,
Green, russet, ruddy, or deep-red of dye,
Or yellow as the girdle of a bee.
But o’er the verdure’s blended shine and shade
Small blighted fruits lie strown in dull array,
Augmenting silently from day to day,
Gnarled and misshapen, worm-gnawed and decayed.
Ah me! what strange frustration of intent,
What dark elective secret, undescried,
Lurks in this dreary failure, side by side
With opulence of full-orbed accomplishment?
Oh seeming mockery ! Oh strange doubt, wherein
The baffled reason gropes and cannot see!
If made at all, why only made to be
In irony for that which might have been?
Nay, vain alike to question or surmise! . . . .
There, plucking white moon-daisies one by one.
Through yonder meadow comes my little son,
My pale-browed hunchback, with the wistful eyes!
Edgar Fawcett.