Her heart is always doing lovely things,
Filling my wintry mind with simple flowers;
Playing sweet tunes on my untuned strings,
Delighting all my undelightful hours.
She plays me like a lute, what tune she will,
No string in me but trembles at her touch,
Shakes into sacred music, or is still,
Trembles or stops, or sells, her skill is such.
And in the dusty tavern of my soul
Where filthy lusts drink witches' brew for wine,
Her gentle hand still keeps me from the bowl,
Still keeps me man, saves me from being swine.
All grace in me, all sweetness in my verse,
Is hers, is my dear girl's, and only hers.
BEING HER FRIEND
Being her friend, I do not care, not I,
How gods or men may wrong me, beat me down;
Her word's sufficient star to travel by,
I count her quiet praise sufficient crown.
Being her friend, I do not covet gold,
Save for a royal gift to give her pleasure;
To sit with her, and have her hand to hold,
Is wealth, I think, surpassing minted treasure.
Being her friend, I only covet art,
A white pure flame to search me as I trace
In crooked letters from a throbbing heart
The hymn to beauty written on her face.
John Masefield, Poems
Macmillan, New York (1951)