DAINTY princelings, proud and wise,
Turn not your suspicious eyes
On a peeping stranger.
Cock no bristly, rose-leaf ear;
Huddle not; there’s none to fear;
Sweetings, there’s no danger.
Lift of neck and heave of thigh, —
Olympian bulls in majesty, —
Ye’ll daze me into fable.
Are ye true things in nature’s line,
Or some Greek jeweler’s design
For Venus’ dressing-table?
Now like knights at bay they stand,
Paladins on either hand,
To guard the lady’s bower;
Seeming to say with moveless eyes:
‘The snake is entering paradise;
We feel his evil power.’
Galahad begins to tremble,
Roland can no more dissemble;
Turning half about,
He whispers: ‘Percy, mark his eye!’
They break, they scamper, plunge, and fly —
O Cupid, what a rout!


TOIL away and set the stone
That shall stand when you are gone.
Ask not that another see
The meaning of your masonry.
Grind the gem and dig the well,
For what? for whom ? —I cannot tell.
The stone may mark a boundary line,
The well may flow, the gem may shine.
Be it wage enough for you
To shape them well and set them true.
Of the future who can tell?
Work, my friend, and so farewell.