Barter

Original Text: 
Love Songs (New York: Macmillan, 1917): 3-4. PS 3539 .E15 L8 1917 Robarts Library
2    All beautiful and splendid things,
3Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
4    Soaring fire that sways and sings,
5And children's faces looking up
6Holding wonder like a cup.
7Life has loveliness to sell,
8    Music like a curve of gold,
9Scent of pine trees in the rain,
10    Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
11And for your spirit's still delight,
12Holy thoughts that star the night.
13Spend all you have for loveliness,
14    Buy it and never count the cost;
15For one white singing hour of peace
16    Count many a year of strife well lost,
17And for a breath of ecstasy
18Give all you have been, or could be.

Notes

1] sell: to part with in return for something, to barter a valuable for a thing of little worth. See OED 7b, which cites Genesis 25:29-34: starving Esau "sells" his birthright or inheritance to Jacob for food, an act that Esau justifies by saying, "I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?". Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1917
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2004
Rhyme: 
Form: