You’d Love Me Then [poem by Menie Parkes]

[Editor: This poem by Menie Parkes was published in Poems (1867).]

You’d Love Me Then.

And if my printed skirts were silken,
My printed bodice velvet smooth,
And fastened with a diamond sparkling,
You’d love me then — you’d love, in sooth!

And if my auburn curls were claspéd
With ouches of rare gems to-day,
And if red gold my arm encircled,
You’d love me then — you’d love, I say.

And if my young hand, wielding pen,
Could trace a tale of unknown gold;
If my red lips sang well of acres,
You’d love me then — your love be told.

But, ah! my lips are only ruddy
With drops from out a warm, true heart;
My eyes with thought alone are gleaming —
You’ve had your pleasure — we must part.

I wear no hot-house flow’ret fair;
But Nature’s jewels — rosebuds sweet —
Within the rings of my brown hair,
For me, you said, were jewels meet.

I was your plaything — nothing more —
A girl without or gold or grace,
She could not pass your father’s door,
Nor meet your haughty sister’s face.

Enough! I scorn your low, soft words!
I scorn myself, your ready dupe!
I pity you, proud, sinful man,
Who to such shameful play can stoop.

I turn me to my lowly home:
At least there’s honest hearts within,
At least there’s truth and candour there —
Love will not shelter grief and sin.

Menie Parkes, Poems, F. Cunninghame, Sydney, [1867], pages 57-58

Editor’s notes:
meet = (archaic) suitable, fit, or proper

ouch = a brooch, buckle, or clasp used as a setting for jewels (can also be used to refer to a brooch, buckle, or clasp without a jewel)

sooth = truth

[Editor: Corrected “will shelter” to “will not shelter”, with regard to the “Errata” corrections.]

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