Saturday, 22 June 2013

"Beauty the lover's gift?" (1933) by Winifred Holtby

"Beauty the lover's gift? Lord,
What is a lover that it can give?"
- Congreve's Millamant

Never mind now. You have done all that was needful;
You have given my eyes their blue and hair its gold.
You have taught my body to move with a grace unheedful,
And I am beautiful now. I shall not grow old.

You have me made sure of myself, and I am grateful.
'I too was adored once' now, and once is enough.
Why should you look at me, then, as one grown hateful?
Why should your voice grow harsh and your gesture rough?

Have I not thanked you well for your gift of beauty?
See! I acknowledge it. I am your work of art.
You modelled this gold, this rose and this pearl to suit ye.
Is it my fault, if you say that I have no heart?

Did you teach my tongue to be kind and my fingers tender?
Did you ask me to spill my sweetness to quench your flame?
You cried to my lips 'Be red!', to my hands, 'Be slender!'
They have obeyed. You have only yourself to blame.

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