All the long merry days of thy life, child
Shalt evermore do as thou art bid;
Lay aside now these fancies wild,
Else shalt cringe when thou art chid!
For the yoke upon thy fluttering heart,
Comes not from the censure of the world;
Were this cool defiance thy natural part,
Wouldst tremble so as it unfurled?
Free, free as yon great bird am I
To soar towards that blue, blue sky
Do eaglets not come to their wings atrembling?
My heart too has courage; behold it assembling!
I am the purple thread ‘pon the world’s white robe
An the pale-dyeing traitor lives within me,
Does it not then more earnestly behove
Me to cast it forth and my true self be?
Thy true self? Faugh! Blasphemy! Arrant knavery!
Wast born to crawl humbly upon the earth
Clip thy false wings! Return! Now be
As beseems one who knows her meagre worth.
Child, all I now in seeming cruelty say
I say for the good of thee and thine;
Wouldst from the creed of all our kind stray,
Lay ‘pon us the pall of ruin, shame me and mine?
No! Mother, no! Rather my right hand would I give
To spare thee a moment’s pain while I yet live!
Yet whither shall the tempest within me turn?
An I yield not, ye hurt; an I yield, I burn!
The salt and the scum of the earth am I
Oh Mother! Hast other daughters, a dozen sons
Set me free to soar wild and high
My fate was not written in thy buttered buns!
Hold! Set thee free! Never! Oh, God forfend!
Set thee free to err in thy wilful way!
Stay! With all my power do I thee defend
To transgress my law for a single day!
Go then! Follow thy brazen will an ye list
I cast thee forth from my heart and my home –
Else return my darling daughter; but then, desist!
Forbid thy vagrant fancy evermore to roam!
Thou hast reason, Mother, the fault is mine
If I cannot be as other maidens are;
I doubt not, Mother, the true course is thine –
Let thy gentle love not suffer me to wander far!
All thy days of my life I yoke to thy law,
Yes-person of a long race of yes-persons am I,
I will obey thee evermore with trembling awe!
Yes, I will. Yes, I will. Yes, I will. Yes, I will. Yes, I –