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Hope by Elsa Gidlow


by Elsa Gidlow

(from her 1923 book, On a Golden Thread)

You would win me, woo me, win me,

To be your lover, Hope!

You would lure me, charm me, lure me, 

With all your deathless youth!

You would have me worship, adore you, 

Build my life for you;

Mould my moments into hours 

Out of your careless smile!

How you pursue me, woo me, follow,

Like a light-headed girl.

All the world is your willing lover:

What do you want with me?

You are a wanton, lovely, perfect,

A dazzling thing like day,

Draped with silk things,

Tasselled, jewelled,

Hung about with veils;

Painted with sweet lies men have blended 

Of folly and dreams and fear.

You are a wanton, all men’s mistress: 

What do you want with me?

What are your gifts worth, light bestower?

All lips know your kiss.

What is your word worth, soft-tongued liar? 

You have deceived all men.

Why do you follow, woo me, follow,

Like a light-headed girl?

What can I give you? What can you give me? 

What do you want with me?

Painted wanton! Tasselled Houri!

Gay in your dress of shame!

You are all men’s willing mistress.

What do I want with you?

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