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A Study

Edgar Lee Masters 1868 (Garnett) – 1950 (Elkins Park)

If your thoughts were as clear as your eyes,
And the whole of your heart were true,
You were fitter by far for winning,
But then that would not be you.
 
If your pulse beat time to love
As fast as you think and plan,
You could kindle a lasting passion
In the breast of the strongest man.
 
If you felt as much as you thought,
And dreamed what you seem to dream,
A world of elysian beauty
Your ruined heart would redeem.
 
If you thought in the light of the sun,
Or the blood in your veins flowed free,
If you gave your kisses but gladly,
We two could better agree.
 
If you were strong where I counted,
And weak where yourself were at stake,
You would have my strength for your giving,
You would gain and not lose for my sake.
 
If your heart overruled your head,
Or your head were lord of your heart,
Or the two were lovingly balanced,
I think we never should part.
 
If you came to me spite of yourself,
And staid not away through design,
These days of loving and living
Were sweet as Olympian wine.
 
If you could weep with another,
And tears for yourself controlled,
You could waken and hold to a pity
You waken, but do not hold.
 
If your lips were as fain to speak
As your face is fashioned to hide -
You would know that to lay up treasure
A woman's heart must confide.
 
If your bosom were something richer,
Or your hands more fragile and thin,
You would call what the world calls evil,
Or sin and be glad of the sin.
 
If your soul were aflame with love,
Or your head were devoted to truth,
You never would toss on your pillow
Bewildered 'twixt rapture and ruth.
 
If you were the you of my dreams,
And the you of my dreams were mine,
These days, half sweet and half bitter,
Would taste like Olympian wine.
 
Oh, subtle and mystic Egyptians!
Who chiseled the Sphinx in the East,
With head and the breasts of a woman,
And body and claws of a beast.
 
And gave her a marvellous riddle
That the eyeless should read as he ran:
What crawls and runs and is baffled
By woman, the sphinx - but a man?
 
Many look in her face and are conquered,
Where one all her heart has explored;
A thousand have made her their sovereign,
But one is her sovereign and lord.
 
For him she leaps from her standard
And fawns at his feet in the sand,
Who sees that himself is her riddle,
And she but the work of his hand.
 
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

2:18 min read
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Edgar Lee Masters

Edgar Lee Masters was an American poet, biographer, and dramatist. more…

All Edgar Lee Masters poems | Edgar Lee Masters Books

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    "A Study" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 7 May 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/54992/a-study>.

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