Poem Robert Frost

The Discovery of the Madeiras

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A stolen lady was coming on board,
But whether stolen from her wedded lord
Or from her own self against her will
Was not set forth in the ladIng hill.
A stolen lady was all it said.
She came down weakly and blindly led
To the darkening Windy village slip.
She would not look at the fateful ship.
Her lover to make the ordeal swift
Had to give her the final lift
And force her farewell step off shore.
The way she clung to him the more
Seemed to argue perhaps she went
Not entirely without consent.
But with no companion of womankind
To leave the English law behind
And sail for some vague Paphian bourn
Began already to seem forlorn.

It did more distance up and down,
Their little stormy ship, than on.
Now it took a fitful run,
Now standing cracked its sail and spun,
Now stood upon its bulging prow
Till the pirate sailors made a vow
Of where they would go on pilgrimage
If God would spare them to die of age.
When the clap of two converging waves
Failed to crush their barrel staves,
Or the wind to snap their walking stick,
They laughed as if they had turned a trick.

This was no lady’s time of year.
For long the lady would disappear,
And might be rolling dead below
For all the crew were let to know.
But when the ocean’s worst had passed
She was carried out besIde the mast,
Where all day long she lay and dozed.
Or she and her lover would sit opposed
And darkly drink each other’s eyes
With faInt head shakings, no more wise.
The most he asked her eyes to grant
Was that in what she does not want
A woman wants to be overruled.
Or was the instinct in him fooled?
He knew not, neither of them knew.
They could only say like any two,
‘You tell me and I’ll tell you’

Sometimes with her permissive smile
He left her to her thoughts awhile
And went to lean against the rail,
And let the captain tell rum a tale.
(He had to keep the captain’s favor.)
The ship it seemed had been a slaver.
And once they had shipped a captive pair
Whose love was such they didn’t care
Who took in them onlooker’s share.
Well, when at length the fever struck
That spoils the nigger-trader’s luck
The man was among the first it took.
‘Throw hIm over alive,’ they said,
‘Before the thing has time to spread.
You’ve got to keep the quarters clean.’
But the girl fought them and made a scene.
She was a savage jungle cat
It was easy to be angry at;
WhICh put the thought into someone’s head
Of the ocean bed for a marriage bed
Some Tom said to Dick or Harry:
‘Apparently these two ought to marry.
We get plenty funerals at sea.
How for a change would a wedding be?-
Or a combmahon of the two,
How would a funeral-wedding do?
It’s gone so far she’s probably caught
Whatever it is the nIgger’s got.’
They bound them naked so they faced
With a length of cordage about the waist,
Many lovers have been divorced
By having what is free enforced
But presence of love these had in death
To kiss and drink each other’s breath
Before they were hurled from the slaver’s deck.
They added clasps about the neck
And went embraced to the cold and dark
To be their own marriage feast for the shark.

When after talk with other men
A man comes back to a woman again
He tells her as much of blood and dirt
As he thinks will do her not too much hurt.
‘What was the pirate captain’s chaff?
He laughed but he did not make you laugh.
The jest seemed his and the plaudIts his.
1 heard hIm shout “What a thing It IS!”
Some standIng jest between you men?
Don’t tell me If you don’t want to then.’
Whereat in a moment of ClOSS unruth
He thought, ‘All right If  YOU want the truth!’
‘I don’t believe it! It Isn’t true!
It never happened! DId It, you?’
SeeIng no help ill wings or feet
She wIthdrew back ill self-retreat
TIll her heart almost ceased to beat.
Her spint faded as far away
As the living ever go yet stay.
And her thought was she had had her pay

He said to the captain, ‘Give command,
And bring us to the nearest land;
And let us try an untossed place
And see if It will help her case.~
They brought her to a nameless Isle.
And the ship lay In the bay for a whIle
Waibng to see if she would mend;
But sailed and left them in the end.
Her lover saw them sail away,
But dared not tell her all one day.
For slowly even her sense of him
And love itself were growing dim.
He no more drew the smile he sought
The story is she dted of thought.

And when her lover was left alone
He stayed long enough to carve on stone
The name of the lady with his own
To be her only marriage lines.
And carved them round with a scroll of vines.
Then he gouged a clumsy sailmg trough
From a fallen tree and pushing off
Safely made the African shore,
Where he fell a prisoner to the Moor.
But the Moor strangely enough believed
The tale of the voyage he had achieved,
And sent him to the King to admire.
He came at last to his native shire.
The island he found was verIfied.
And the bay where his stolen lady died
Was named for him mstead of her.
But so is history like to err.
And soon it is neither here nor there
Whether time’s rewards are fair or unfair.

Of the Stones of the Placev
The Lesson for Today


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