If (Wilcox, Poems of Power)

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   Dear love, if you and I could sail away,
      With snowy pennons to the winds unfurled,
   Across the waters of some unknown bay,
      And find some island far from all the world;

   If we could dwell there, evermore alone,
      While unrecorded years slip by apace,
   Forgetting and forgotten and unknown
      By aught save native song-birds of the place;

   If Winter never visited that land,
      And Summer’s lap spilled o’er with fruits and flowers,
   And tropic trees cast shade on every hand,
      And twinèd boughs formed sleep-inviting bowers;

   If from the fashions of the world set free,
      And hid away from all its jealous strife,
   I lived alone for you, and you for me—
      Ah! then, dear love, how sweet were wedded life.

   But since we dwell here in the crowded way,
      Where hurrying throngs rush by to seek for gold,
   And all is commonplace and work-a-day
      As soon as love’s young honeymoon grows old;

   Since fashion rules and nature yields to art,
      And life is hurt by daily jar and fret,
   ’Tis best to shut such dreams down in the heart
      And go our ways alone, love, and forget.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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