Richard Le Gallienne

(1866-1947 / England)

A Ballad of Too Much Beauty


There is too much beauty upon this earth
For lonely men to bear,
Too many eyes, too enchanted skies,
Too many things too fair;
And the man who would live the life of a man
Must turn his eyes away-if he can.

He must not look at the dawning day,
Or watch the rising moon;
From the little feet, so white, so fleet,
He must turn his eyes away;
And the flowers and the faces he must pass by
With stern self-sacrificing eye.

For beauty and duty are strangers forever,
Work and wonder ever apart,
And the laws of life eternally sever
The ways of the brain from the ways of the heart;
Be it flower or pearl, or the face of a girl,
Or the ways of the waters as they swirl.

Lo! beauty is sorrow, and sorrowful men
Have no heart to look on the face of the sky,
Or hear the remorseful voice of the sea,
Or the song of the wandering wind in the tree,
Or even watch a butterfly.

Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010
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