Love and Thought

by James Russell Lowell

James Russell Lowell, American Romantic poet, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on February 22, 1819, and died on August 12, 1891. He is considered a Fireside Poet, or part of a group of New England authors that wrote material very suitable to be read as entertainment to members of a family, often read aloud in front of a residential fireplace.

 

What hath Love with Thought to do? 
Still at variance are the two. 
Love is sudden, Love is rash, 
Love is like the levin flash, 
Comes as swift, as swiftly goes, 
And his mark as surely knows.

Thought is lumpish, Thought is slow, 
Weighing long 'tween yes and no; 
When dear Love is dead and gone, 
Thought comes creeping in anon, 
And, in his deserted nest, 
Sits to hold the crowner's quest.

Since we love, what need to think? 
Happiness stands on a brink 
Whence too easy 'tis to fall 
Whither's no return at all; 
Have a care, half-hearted lover, 
Thought would only push her over!

 

— The Complete Poetical Works of James Russell Lowell (1882)

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