To a Cat
STATELY, kindly, lordly friend, Condescend Here to sit by me, and turn Glorious eyes that smile and burn, Golden eyes, love's lustrous meed, On the golden page I read. All your wondrous wealth of hair, Dark and fair, Silken-shaggy, soft and bright As the clouds and beams of night, Pays my reverent hand's caress Back with friendlier gentleness. Dogs may fawn on all and some As they come; You, a friend of loftier mind, Answer friends alone in kind. Just your foot upon my hand Softly bids it understand. Morning round this silent sweet Garden-seat Sheds its wealth of gathering light, Thrills the gradual clouds with might, Changes woodland, orchard, heath, Lawn, and garden there beneath. Fair and dim they gleamed below: Now they glow Deep as even your sunbright eyes, Fair as even the wakening skies. Can it not or can it be Now that you give thanks to see ? May not you rejoice as I, Seeing the sky Change to heaven revealed, and bid Earth reveal the heaven it hid All night long from stars and moon, Now the sun sets all in tune? What within you wakes with day Who can say? All too little may we tell, Friends who like each other well, What might haply, if we might, Bid us read our lives aright. Wild on woodland ways your sires Flashed like fires; Fair as flame and fierce and fleet As with wings on wingless feet Shone and sprang your mother, free, Bright and brave as wind or sea. Free and proud and glad as they, Here to-day Rests or roams their radiant child, Vanquished not, but reconciled, Free from curb of aught above Save the lovely curb of love. Love through dreams of souls divine Fain would shine Round a dawn whose light and song Then should right our mutual wrong--- Speak, and seal the love-lit law Sweet Assisi's seer foresaw. Dreams were theirs; yet haply may Dawn a day When such friends and fellows born, Seeing our earth as fair at morn, May for wiser love's sake see More of heaven's deep heart than we.
Algernon Charles Swinburne’s other poems:
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