Young Love went sailing without fear
Upon a lotus-leaf,
Though Reason said, "Pray let me steer,
Or you will come to grief."
Then laughed the saucy god and cried,
"You look too grum and blue.
Go, walk along the river's side,
I'll paddle my own canoe."
So reason, plodding on the shore,
Watched Love's frail shallop floating,
And thought, "Though walking is a bore,
It's very risky boating.
Hallo! young imp, you will be wrecked;
Your bark is very frail."
But Love sang gayly, "I expect
To have a jolly sail!"
"Keep off the rocks and cataracts,
They oft beguile a stranger."
Quoth Love, "A truce to stupid facts,
I rather like the danger.
The stream is smooth, the sky is clear,
Why do you come to measure
The crystal deeps through which I steer
To boundless seas of pleasure?
"I'd rather brave life's tidal shocks,
And strand amidst its corals,
Than anchor off these granite rocks
To hear you preach of morals."
Thus, down the stream did Cupid drift,
His hand at Reason kissing,
To where those sunlit waters swift
Over the rocks went hissing.
A warning scorned, a danger spurned
Of which he saw no token,
The lotus-leaf was overturned,
The fairy rudder broken.
Sang reckless Love, "A wreck or two
Is not to me distressing.
My wings are dry, I've saved my bow;
There's not an arrow missing."
"You are a wicked little elf,"
Said Reason, darkly frowning.
"What matter if you harm yourself?
I'd laugh to see you drowning."
Quoth Cupid, with a cunning wink,
"You know your words are treason;
For half the world would rather sink
With Love, than swim with Reason."
Then, rising from his sinking craft,
Love sent an arrow flying
At Reason's heart, and mocking laughed
While to his mentor crying,
"Don't grumble if I give you pain,
This strife is all your seeking."
Sighed vanquished Reason, "Shoot again,"
And kissed the wound while reeking.