The Poetry Corner

The Lapse

By Paul Laurence Dunbar

This poem must be done to-day; Then, I 'll e'en to it. I must not dream my time away,-- I 'm sure to rue it. The day is rather bright, I know The Muse will pardon My half-defection, if I go Into the garden. It must be better working there,-- I 'm sure it's sweeter: And something in the balmy air May clear my metre. [In the Garden.] Ah this is noble, what a sky! What breezes blowing! The very clouds, I know not why, Call one to rowing. The stream will be a paradise To-day, I 'll warrant. I know the tide that's on the rise Will seem a torrent; I know just how the leafy boughs Are all a-quiver; I know how many skiffs and scows Are on the river. I think I 'll just go out awhile Before I write it; When Nature shows us such a smile, We should n't slight it. For Nature always makes desire By giving pleasure; And so 't will help me put more fire Into my measure. [On the River.] The river's fine, I 'm glad I came, That poem 's teasing; But health is better far than fame, Though cheques are pleasing. I don't know what I did it for,-- This air 's a poppy. I 'm sorry for my editor,-- He 'll get no copy!