Thomas Bailey Aldrich

(November 11, 1836 – March 19, 1907 / Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Form:


Read poems about / on: flower, woman, spring, nature, work, hair, light, girl, change, sky, smile, women

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (An Elective Course by Thomas Bailey Aldrich )

There is no comment submitted by members..

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. If, Rudyard Kipling
  5. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  6. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  7. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  8. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  10. Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
[Hata Bildir]