Thomas Bailey Aldrich
An Elective Course
LINES FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS OF A HARVARD UNDERGRADUATE
The bloom that lies on Fanny's cheek
Is all my Latin, all my Greek;
The only sciences I know
Are frowns that gloom and smiles that glow;
Siberia and Italy
Lie in her sweet geography;
No scolarship have I but such
As teaches me to love her much.
Why should I strive to read the skies,
Who know the midnight of her eyes?
Why should I go so very far
To learn what heavenly bodies are!
Not Berenice's starry hair
With Fanny's tresses can compare;
Not Venus on a cloudless night,
Enslaving Science with her light,
Ever reveals so much as when
She stares and droops her lids again.
If Nature's secrets are forbidden
To mortals, she may keep them hidden.
Æons and æons we progressed
And did not let that break our rest;
Little we cared if Mars o'erhead
Were or were not inhabited;
Without the aid of Saturn's rings
Fair girls were wived in those fair springs;
Warm lips met ours, and conquered us
Or ere thou wert, Copernicus!
Graybeards, who wish to bridge the chasm
'Twixt man to-day and protoplasm,
Who theorize and probe and gape,
And finally evolve an ape--
Yours is a harmless sort of cult,
If you are pleased with the result.
Some folks admit, with cynic grace,
That you have rather proved your case.
Those dogmatists are so severe!
Enough for me that Fanny's here,
Enough that, having survived
Pre-Eveic forms, she has arrived--
An illustration the completest
Of the survival of the sweetest.
Linnæus aveunt! I only care
To know what flower she wants to wear.
I leave it to the addle-pated
To guess how pinks originated,
As if it mattered! The chief thing
Is that we have them in the Spring,
And Fanny likes them. When they come,
I straightaway send and purchase some.
The Origin of Plants--go to!
Their proper end I have in view.
O loveliest book that ever man
Looked into since the world began
Is Woman! As I turn those pages,
As fresh as in the primal ages,
As day by day I scan, perplext,
The ever subtly changing text,
I feel that I am slowly growing
To think no other work worth knowing.
And in my copy--there is none
So perfect as the one I own--
I find no thing set down as such
As teaches me to love it much.
Thomas Bailey Aldrich's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (An Elective Course by Thomas Bailey Aldrich )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(03 April 1964)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827)
(22 March 1941 -)
(18 November 1939)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
- Happy Birthday stranger, ice johnson
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes, Billy Collins
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Autumn, Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin
Poem of the Day
- Petits morceaux, Lubinda Lubinda
- For Edgar Allan Poe With All Gratitude..., Frank James Ryan Jr...FjR
- It Takes Tears to..., Rodney R. Cooper
- It Takes Tears, Rodney R. Cooper
- My life, Mario,Lucien,Rene Odekerken
- Don't leave me cozied-up homely, Mark Heathcote
- If You Were Here Today, Serena Blackinton
- Uncle Trevor's Solution, rohan bendre
- Trapped Inside, Pamela Carroll
- Two Green Points: Art Print by Wassily K.., Frank Avon