Poetry of Kansas
 

No to Have and to Hold.

Not to have and to hold, not to kiss and
        caress,
Just to stand at a distance and cherish and bless;
Not to fold to my bosom and lull her to sleep,
As a good ship becalmed on the breast of the
        deep;
Not to bathe in those tresses and drink in those
        eyes,
As deep as the ocean and clear as the skies;
Not to press those dear lips as my heart would
        desire,
Nor to do aught to quench love's insatiate fire;
Not to have and to hold, not to kiss and caress,
Just to stand at a distance and cherish and bless.
 
How rich seems the ore of whose vein we lose
        trace !
How lovely the form that we cannot embrace !
How bright seems the sun to a man in a cave___
How dear is the loved one we know we can't
        have !
 
God hath given each part and each power that
        we have.
Is it weakness to want___a crime to crave?
Has the eagle its wings not to soar in the sky?
The songster his tune not to warble on high?
Has the rainbow its hue and the blossom its scent
To be hidden and lost in the vast firmament?
Is the cup of our joy of so fragile a make
That, filled once in a lifetime, the vessel would
        break?
Must we gaze upon beauty, nor yield to its power?
Stroll all thru the garden, but touch not a flower?
Know the warmth of the sunlight, yet dwell in a
        cave?
Look on fashion's gay whirl, yet with loneliness
        rave?
Gasp for air in a meadow, yea stand on the brink
Of a world-bounded ocean, yet famish for drink?
In the wide world of plenty should famine pre-
        vail?
Must a lone life be shipwrecked in sight of a sail?
 
Oft who long most for gold can have nothing
        but dross,
Oft who seek greatest gain meet the heaviest
        loss,
But the gilt and the glory, of land or of sea,
And the glitter of gold are as nothing to me.
I desire nothing more and desire nothing less
Than to have you to hold and to kiss and caress.
 
Sweet Darling, my angel, my love's cherished
        dream,
My heart's sacred idol, my muse's fair theme,-
As pure as the snowflake, as fair as the flower,
As dear as the mem'ry of some vanished hour:
Voluptuous virgin, of heaven, yet earth,-
The stars sang together the morn of thy birth,
And Venus there posed and the sculptor divine
Formed his favorite image___that image was
        thine,
Imbued with the grace of the Master above,
Formed but to fondle, designed but to love,
Earth's costliest treasure, above or below,
The last, dearest pleasure that mortal can
        know___
I would sacrifice all and the sacrifice bless
Could I have you to hold and to kiss and caress.

__Colfax Burgoyne Harman

 

Poems Of Sentiment
Colfax Burgoyne Harman
(Valley Falls, Kansas: Harman Publishing. 1905)
Pages 147-149

 
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January 13, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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