Page:New poems and variant readings, Stevenson, 1918.djvu/51

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A VALENTINE'S SONG

A VALENTINE'S SONG

Motley I count the only wear
That suits, in this mixed world, the truly wise,
Who boldly smile upon despair
And shake their bells in Grandam Grundy's eyes.
Singers should sing with such a goodly cheer
That the bare listening should make strong like wine,
At this unruly time of year,
The Feast of Valentine.


We do not now parade our "oughts"
And "shoulds" and motives and beliefs in God.
Their life lies all indoors; sad thoughts
Must keep the house, while gay thoughts go abroad,
Within we hold the wake for hopes deceased;
But in the public streets, in wind or sun,
Keep open, at the annual feast,
The puppet-booth of fun.


Our powers, perhaps, are small to please,
But even negro-songs and castanettes,
Old jokes and hackneyed repartees

Are more than the parade of vain regrets.