Dame Fortune [poem, 28 January 1905]

[Editor: A poem published in The Australasian (Melbourne), 28 January 1905.]

Dame Fortune.

Good Mistress Fortune step this way,
And mend with kindly stitch
These pockets where thy coin oft lay,
Thou variable witch.

On many thresholds thou dost wait,
Thy monogram to sign;
Ah, could’st thou lift the latch of fate,
And write the same on mine.

Oh, most inconstant lady, thou
Dost freely bless and curse;
Too oft thy favours kind allow,
And then, ad lib., reverse.

Why did’st thou sweeten so my cup,
And leave no drop of doubt,
That one who mix’d such nectar up,
Could take the sugar out?

When flash’d on me thy radiant smile,
I thought the world went well;
Thou scowlest now, a weary while,
And so the earth seems hell.

Oh, Mistress, wilt thou while I wait,
With smiles my life recoin?
Or spur me on with lash of hate,
To where the cross roads join?


The Australasian (Melbourne, Vic.), 28 January 1905, p. 230

Editor’s notes:
ad lib. = an abbreviation of “ad libitum”, Latin for “at one’s pleasure”; to speak without notes or without restraint, to improvise; commonly abbreviated to “ad lib”; in music it denotes a section which may be played according to the desire of the musician, and not necessarily in strict time, whilst in acting it refers to actors speaking without following a prepared script

cross roads = in a symbolic or mystic context, “crossroads” may refer to a border between life and death, an occasion for a determination of destiny or fate, or a place where a deal may be struck with a being from the underworld

recoin = re-mint coins; make anew; to make something in a new way [in the context of the poem there may also be a second meaning, using “recoin” re. to give back coins or to restore wealth]

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