From the recording First and Fairest
Mixed @ Granger Musik & VideoWerks, Inc.
A Woman's Shortcomings
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
She has laughed as softly as if she sighed,
She has counted six, and over,
Of a purse well filled and a heart well tried –
Oh, each a worthy lover!
They ‘give her time;’ for her soul must slip
Where the world has set the grooving;
She will lie to none with her fair red lip;
But love seeks truer loving.
She trembles her fan in a sweetness dumb,
As her thoughts were beyond recalling,
With a glance for one, and a glance for some,
From her eyelids rising and falling;
Speaks common words with a blushful air,
Hears bold words, unreproving;
But her silence says – what she will never swear –
And love seeks better loving.
Go, lady, lean to the night guitar
And drop a smile to the bringer;
Then smile as sweetly, when he is far,
At the voice of an in-door singer.
Bask tenderly beneath tender eyes;
Glance lightly, on their removing;
And join new vows to old perjuries-
But dare not call it loving.
Unless you can think, when the song is done,
No other is soft in the rhythm;
Unless you can feel, when left by One,
That all men else go with him;
Unless you can know, when unpraised by
That your beauty itself wants proving;
Unless you can swear ‘For life, for death!’
Oh, fear to call it loving!
Unless you can muse in a crowd all day
On the absent face that fixed you;
Unless you can love, as the angels may,
With the breadth of heaven betwixt you;
Unless you can dream that his faith is fast,
Through behoving and unbehoving;
Unless you can die when the dream is past –
Oh, never call it loving!