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Short poem

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861-1907)

An Insincere Wish Addressed to a Beggar

              1We are not near enough to love,
              2    I can but pity all your woe;
              3For wealth has lifted me above,
              4    And falsehood set you down below.

              5If you were true, we still might be
              6    Brothers in something more than name;
              7And were I poor, your love to me
              8    Would make our differing bonds the same.

              9But golden gates between us stretch,
            10    Truth opens her forbidding eyes;
            11You can't forget that I am rich,
            12    Nor I that you are telling lies.

            13Love never comes but at love's call,
            14    And pity asks for him in vain;
            15Because I cannot give you all,
            16    You give me nothing back again.

            17And you are right with all your wrong,
            18    For less than all is nothing too;
            19May Heaven beggar me ere long,
            20    And Truth reveal herself to you!

Online text copyright © 2005, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Mary E. Coleridge, Poems (London: Elkin Mathews, 1918). PR 6005 O3P6 1918 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2005
Recent editing: 1:2005/3/11

Form: quatrains
Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge