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We sat together at one summer's end
That beautiful mild woman your close friend
And you and I, and talked of poetry.

I said 'a line will take us hours maybe,
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.' p. 24
                            That woman then
Murmured with her young voice, for whose mild sake
There's many a one shall find out all heartache
In finding that it's young and mild and low.
'There is one thing that all we women know
Although we never heard of it at school,
That we must labour to be beautiful.'

I said, 'It's certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
Precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.'

We sat grown quiet at the name of love,
We saw the last embers of daylight die
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell p. 25
Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.

I had a thought for no one's but your ears
That you were beautiful and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown
As weary hearted as that hollow moon.

Next: The Song Of Red Hanrahan